17 August 2009 – Construction has begun on the Kusile power station, the second coal-fired power station being built by Eskom as part of its multi-billion rand expansion, with completion scheduled for 2017.
The new base-load power station, which will consist of six generating units generating a total of approximately 4 800 megawatts, is situated close to the existing Kendal power station near the town of Witbank in Mpumalanga province.
The first generating unit is scheduled for completion by 2013, followed by the completion on an additional unit after every eight months.
"Two years ago, Eskom revised its electricity growth projection from 2.3% to 4% per annum," Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga said in a statement issued by the Department of Public Enterprises last week.
"The upward revision of the electricity demand growth to 4% was required to align to government’s target of a 6% gross domestic product growth between 2010 and 2014, [and the] Kusile power station had to be brought forward as a result of the revised plan."
The state-owned electricity utility has selected Anglo Inyosi, the black economic empowerment subsidiary of Anglo Coal South Africa, to supply the required coal for the life of the power station.
The coal, which will be transported by conveyor belt, will be supplied from the nearby New Largo reserve as well as from the Zondagsfontein reserve.
Kusile will be the first power station in South Africa to have flue gas desulphurisation technology installed.
According to Eskom, flue gas desulphurisation is a state-of-the-art technology that is used to remove oxides of sulphur, including sulphur dioxide, from the exhaust flue gases in coal-fired power plants.
This enables Eskom to use the technology as an atmospheric emissions abatement technology, thereby ensuring compliance with air quality standards.
Kusile is Eskom’s second most advanced coal project after Medupi power station in Limpopo province, which began construction in April.
"In the next 18 months, the construction of this new power station will create up to 5 000 jobs and will peak to 8 000," Maroga said. "We estimate that some 7 000 beds will be required, along with 21 000 meals per day to cater for the construction workers at the peak of the construction activities."