JOHANNESBURG, March 31 (Reuters) – South Africa will begin operating Unit 3 at the Kusile coal-fired power station this week, state-owned utility Eskom said on Wednesday, marking the halfway point in a long delayed 118.5 billion rand ($8 billion) project which began in 2008.
“This brings to three the number of generation units that have achieved commercial status at the project, generating a maximum 2 400MW to support the South African power grid,” Eskom said in a statement.
Eskom provides more 90% of the electricity needed by Africa’s most industrialised nation, but has had to implement cost nationwide blackouts due to repeated faults at its ailing coal-fired power stations, severely constraining economic growth.
In February and March it cut power regularly in order to perform maintenance at its plants.
This month it faced uncertainty on about 6,000 MW of its nominal capacity of more than 44,000 MW and expects electricity supply to remain volatile until maintenance is completed by September.
($1 = 14.8140 rand) (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana)
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