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Despite all the constructions delays and labour turmoil, Medupi Power Station went into commercial operation on Sunday, 23 August. It will pump almost 800 megawatts of power into the national grid and will help to alleviate the load shedding that has plagued the country.
The first of Medupi power station's six units was connected to South Africa's national power grid on Monday, marking "an exciting milestone" toward full commercial power of the Limpopo plant, Eskom boss Tshediso Matona said.
The first unit at the coal-powered electricity station is close to first synchronisation, with the unit expected to be fully operational by winter - when power usage traditionally increases. Eskom has again turned to load shedding as electricity supply is constrained, highlighting the need for the new station.
South Africa's strong economic growth, rapid industrialisation and a mass electrification programme led, by early 2008, to demand for power outstripping supply. The multi-faceted plan to correct this includes spending a projected R343- billion over five years to fund a new generation of power stations.
The National Energy Regulator of South Africa has issued Eskom with a licence to build the first new coal-fired power station in the country for more than 20 years.