Image: Construction Review Online
South Africa’s national power utility, Eskom, announced on Monday morning that Unit 1, the last of six power generation units at the 4,764 MW Medupi coal-fired power station in South Africa’s Limpopo province, has attained commercial operation status following the completion of all building activities.
The power station is notable for being the fourth largest coal-fired plant in the world, and the largest dry-cooled power station. Construction for the project began in May 2007, with the first unit supplying power to the country’s national grid in August 2015. According to Sikonathi Mantshantsha, spokesperson for Eskom, the capital cost for the project is R122 billion, with the power utility company expecting to spend R135 billion in total upon completion of the plant.
Group Executive for Eskom’s group capital division, Bheki Nxumalo stated, “What remains for the Medupi project is the last part of implementing the agreed technical solutions related to the boiler design defects on the balance of the plant. Once these repairs are completed during the next 24 months, Medupi will reliably deliver power to the national grid at full capacity, helping increase energy security in the country.”
Mantshantsha indicated that the Medupi power station’s operational lifespan is 50 years, with Nxumalo stating, “This is an investment that will serve generations of the people of South Africa and power the economy for at least the next half-century. The commercial operations status means that technical compliance to statutory, safety and legal requirements have all been met.”
According to Eskom, the Medupi power plant incorporates state-of-the art technology for its dry-cooling systems, which are capable of operating at higher temperatures than the company’s earlier generation of boilers and turbines.
The Medupi power plant is expected to significantly increase the country’s electricity generation capacity and help to restabilize South Africa’s national grid in the wake of the nation’s ongoing energy crisis.