Medupi Power Plant
Numsa members engage in strike action on Wednesday to address various demands at the Medupi Power Plant in Limpopo

In South Africa, Unit 4 of the Medupi Power Station Project in Lephalale, Limpopo, was synchronised to the national power grid on Wednesday, becoming the third of the power station’s six units to come on stream.

State-owned power utility, Eskom, said in a statement that the synchronisation of Unit 4 also marks a key milestone towards the full commercial operation of the unit ahead of its scheduled commercial operation in 2018.

Medupi Unit 4 a great milestone

Synchronisation is when the generator in the unit is connected into the power grid so that it is aligned with all other generators on the national grid. It will then start to generate and deliver electricity into the grid over several months.

Prish Govender, acting group executive for group capital, said: “Medupi Unit 4 synchronisation is a great milestone and a strong indication that we are on the right path on delivering the entire New Build programme to the country, ahead of schedule. I am thrilled by this achievement.

“This achievement makes us all proud and we commend the team for their commitment in working tirelessly to ensure that Unit 4 synchronisation is achieved ahead of schedule.” Read more…

Coal-fired power

According to the utility, once completed, Medupi will be the fourth largest coal-fired power plant, and the largest dry-cooled power station in the world. It will consist of six units with an installed capacity of 4,800MW.

The planned operational life of the power station is 50 years.

The Medupi power station uses direct dry-cooling systems due to the water scarcity in the Lephalale area. Dry-cooling systems use air instead of water to cool the steam exiting a turbine, the parastatal explained.

The power plant incorporates super critical technology, which is able to operate at higher temperatures than Eskom’s earlier generation of boilers and turbines.

Importantly, the technology enables the power plant to operate with greater efficiency, resulting in better use of natural resources such as water and coal, and will have improved environmental performance.