Eskom hopes Medupi will bring stability to power grid

On Monday, Medupi's Unit 6 synchronised with the grid for the first time, four years after the scheduled date.

FILE: The Medupi Power Station in Limpopo. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - With the Medupi Power Station delivering its first unit of electricity, Eskom hopes it will bring some stability to the power grid.

On Monday, Medupi's Unit 6 synchronised with the grid for the first time, four years after the scheduled date.

By 2020, Eskom expects all units of the station will deliver more than 4,000 megawatts.

Energy expert Chris Yelland says electricity users won't immediately feel the impact when Unit 6 fully comes online in the next three months.

"Of course it makes a contribution but it doesn't solve the problem. The problem is going to take longer to solve. We're going to need more than just one unit. We're going to need six units before it really starts making an impact."

But Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe says this achievement is significant.

"It will help us a great deal so we're not saying it will solve all our problems, but at least it will be helping us to make sure that we keep the lights on."

South Africans have been warned that although Medupi is expected to supply 800 megawatts by June, it's not enough to reduce load shedding.

SOLAR POWER PLANT OPENS IN NORTHERN CAPE

At the same time, a renewable energy power plant in the Northern Cape has gone online producing 100 megawatts of energy for the national grid.

This is the equivalent of powering 80,000 households.

The KaXu One Solar Thermal Power Plant is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and was officially opened by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel in Pofadder on Monday.

With summertime temperatures soaring to around 50 degrees Celsius, the Northern Cape is the ideal location for solar power plants.

Three plants have been built and another is currently under construction.

Patel said the R7,9 billion plant would go a long way in addressing South Africa's energy crisis.

"These programmes will help us address the energy crisis so we can reduce load shedding."

The plant was been built by Spanish company Abengoa, which owns 51 percent of the project.

The industrial development corporation and the local community own 29 and 20 percent respectively.

Take a look at EWN's feature on how to survive load shedding.

To view load shedding schedules in your area, click here.