11 June 2012 – On Friday 8th of June, South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, visited the under construction 4,800 MW coal fired Medupi power station to witness a boiler pressure test.
He said that Eskom is spending R340 billion to build the Medupi power station, the similarly sized Kusile power station in Mpumalanga, as well as the Ingula pumped storage scheme in KwaZulu-Natal. This investment includes the expansion of the transmission system. “Kusile is expected to cost R121 billion. The project is more than 17% complete with R39 billion having been spent. The project has an estimated 25% impact on Delmas town’s GDP. Ingula in Ladysmith is expected to cost R23 billion. The project is more than 42% complete with R11 billion having been spent. It is expected to have a 7% impact on Ladysmith’s local GDP.”
The Medupi, Kusile and Ingula projects will create about 40,000 job opportunities, with 35,500 direct jobs during construction and operation and about 4,500 indirect jobs supporting the programme. Eskom has about 17,000 people working on the Medupi construction site. More than 40% are from the local area.
Medupi, with a planned operational life of 50 years, will be the fourth-largest coal plant and the largest dry-cooled power station in the world. “Once all its six units are completed, Medupi will be able generate enough electricity to power almost the whole of Gauteng. We are also encouraged by the impact of the project in Lephalale. The area’s GDP is expected to increase by approximately 95% per year as a result of the construction activities.”
Other than building the three new power stations, Eskom has returned to service the previously mothballed Camden power station, and is returning to full operating capacity the Grootvlei and Komati power stations, all of these in Mpumalanga.
By 2018, the capital expansion programme being undertaken by Eskom would have contributed more than 17,000 MW of electricity and 4,700 km of transmission network.