211009 Medupi Power Station under construction by Murray and Roberts.photo supplied

Johannesburg - Unit 6 at Eskom's newly-built Medupi power station in Limpopo produced power for the first time on Monday, the parastatal said.

“The electricity flowing into the grid marks a new beginning,” Eskom chief executive Tshediso Matona said in a statement.

“Within the next three months, South Africa will see Medupi Unit 6’s full potential of 794 MW being fed into the South African national grid.”

This was the first of Medupi’s six units to be synchronised.

Synchronisation, or first power, involves the generator being electrically connected to the power grid so that its power is aligned with all the other generators to deliver electricity into the grid.

Unit 6 of the new power station has faced numerous construction delays.

It was announced last year that it was expected to be synchronised on December 24.

Matona said a power station manager had been appointed in anticipation of commercial operation.

“Approximately 350 men and women are waiting to join the force of South Africans making history when the unit gets operational.

“While Unit 6 is the first of Medupi’s six units, it should be noted that all required auxiliary services for the entire power station are ready to ensure that Medupi’s total output of 4 764MW is fully synchronised to the South African power grid,” he said.

Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Brown said synchronisation of the unit was a step towards alleviating some of the energy problems the country faced.

“This will contribute significantly to South Africa’s and the region’s economy in the long run.

“We recognise that this is only the beginning, but I am confident that achieving this significant milestone will sustain the dedication and commitment of the Eskom team as they work towards the completion of the project,” she said.

Sapa