25 November 2009 – Eskom’s Medupi power station in Limpopo is now an integral part of South Africa’s solution to its power supply shortage.  The 4800 MW power station is due for commissioning in 2012 and yesterday the French owned power group, Alstom, stated that it had signed a 100m contract to supply its instrumentation and control system.

Although Eskom said last week that it planned to place new contracts on hold until there was clarity on its application for a 45% tariff hike for each of the next following three years, Alstom’s contract has been negotiated since then. Eskom estimates that even with the 45% increase, Eskom would still have a R30bn shortfall on its funding requirements.

Medupi along with the Kusile power station in Mpumalanga are two of the biggest stations in Eskom’s portfolio for its R385bn capital expansion program. Alstom, which has already won several contracts with Eskom, said it had given the utility an additional option for the installation of a system at the Kusile plant worth another 100m.

Alstom is scheduled to engineer, supply, and install a distributed control system and an ALSPA series 6.  This is an open information technology platform that reduces running costs. The control system will in turn allow Eskom to monitor all of the plant’s critical equipment.  Ultimately this will improve reliability and availability of the plant, increasing its power output by more than 65MW and extending the life of the plant.