Eskom’s R135 billion mammoth Medupi Power Station in Lephalale, Limpopo, has been finally completed, 14 years after the project commenced. Picture: Itumeleng English, ANA.
Eskom’s R135 billion mammoth Medupi Power Station in Lephalale, Limpopo, has been finally completed, 14 years after the project commenced. Picture: Itumeleng English, ANA.

Eskom’s Medupi Power Station in Limpopo finally completed after 14 years

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Aug 2, 2021

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Eskom’s R135 billion mammoth Medupi Power Station in Lephalale, Limpopo, has been finally completed, 14 years after the project commenced.

The power utility today said the last of six generation units of the Medupi, Unit 1, attained commercial operation status on Saturday and was handed over to the generation division.

This marked the completion of all building activities on the 4 764MW project, which commenced in May 2007.

The commercial operation status means technical compliance to statutory, safety and legal requirements have all been met.

The unit was officially declared commercial after the completion of the unit optimisation, control demonstration, as well as the 72-hour and the 30-day reliability run, which have put all performance guarantees to effect.

Unit 1 was first synchronised to the national grid in August 2019 and reached the full load of 794MW in December the same year.

During this testing and optimisation phase, Unit 1 contributed intermittent power to the country’s electricity supply.

Eskom’s Group executive for capital division, Bheki Nxumalo, applauded Team Medupi, support teams and its execution partners for working tirelessly to ensure the unit was handed over for commercial operation as planned by the end of July.

The planned operational life of the station was 50 years.

“Unit 1 commercial operation is a historic milestone as it signifies the completion of construction for Medupi Power Station,” Nxumalo said.

“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.”

Eskom said the capital cost of the project was R122bn so far, and Eskom expected to spend in total under R135bn on completion of balance of plant.

The Medupi Power Station uses direct dry-cooling systems due to the water scarcity in the Lephalale area, and is the fourth largest coal-fired plant and the largest dry-cooled power station in the world.

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