Medupi Power Station

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Medupi Power Station
Medupikragstasie, Ellisras, Limpopo, a.jpg
CountrySouth Africa
Coordinates23°42′00″S 27°33′00″E / 23.70000°S 27.55000°E / -23.70000; 27.55000Coordinates: 23°42′00″S 27°33′00″E / 23.70000°S 27.55000°E / -23.70000; 27.55000
StatusUnder construction
Commission date2015 Q1
Thermal power station
Primary fuelCoal
Power generation
Units under const.6 × 794 MW
Nameplate capacity4,764 MW

Medupi Power Station is a dry-cooled coal-fired power station being built by Eskom near Lephalale in Limpopo province, South Africa. According to Eskom, the name chosen for the station, Medupi, is a Sepedi word for "rain that soaks parched lands".[1]


Originally conceived as Project Alpha in 2007, with only three units to total 2400MW and cost R32 billion, the design was changed at a late stage in 2007 and doubled in size to 4764MW. Initial project cost was given as R69 billion but that was updated to approximately R80 billion later in 2007.[2][3]

Power output[edit]

When completed, the power station is to have six boilers each powering an 800 MW turbine, producing 4800 MW of power. It is expected to become the largest dry-cooled coal-fired power station in the world.[4] Alstom will provide the steam turbines,[5] Medupi will be supplied by coal from Exxaro's Grootegeluk coal mine, located north of the site. Eskom has placed a contract with Exxaro to supply 14.6 MT of coal per year for 40 years.[6] Completion of the first two units was expected by 2012 but various delays have impacted on progress. The first 794 MW unit was commissioned and handed over to Eskom Generation on 23 August 2015. Units 5 to 1 will be completed at approximately nine-month intervals. The power station was initially expected to cost R80 billion (2007 Rands),[2] and then was revised to cost R154 billion.(2013 Rands) [7][8][9] Currently the cost of Medupi is estimated at R195 billion. (2016 Rands) [10]

Power generation[edit]

Medupi Power Station development of the coal yard 2014
Development of the coal yard, early 2014
Medupi Power Station fabrication of boilers mid 2014
Fabrication of a boiler structure, mid 2014

On the 18 February 2015 the Public Enterprises minister, Lynne Brown, announced that the number 6 turbine is running at the optimum speed of 3000 revolutions per minute.[11] Official news reports stated that the turbine will add 794 megawatts to the national grid.[12]

On the 22 February 2016 the number 5 turbine was being load tested at a max load of 794 megawatts. [13] Commercial operation is estimated to be March 2018. (2016) [10]


The building of the coal power station has attracted criticism.[14] Critics have alleged that the government pushed the project forward because the African National Congress held a 25% share of the venture and stood to make a profit of close to 1 billion rand on the deal.[15][16] Backers of the project argued that the plant is needed.[17] Some critics say that effective management of coal supplies was needed, not another coal station.[18]

The African Development Bank lent $500 million for the project in 2008. In 2010, the World Bank agreed to lend South Africa $3.75 billion to assist with several energy projects, with $3.05 billion allocated for completion of the Medupi power station. The approval of the World Bank loan drew criticism for supporting increased global emissions of greenhouse gases.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kusile and Medupi coal-fired power stations under construction" (PDF). Eskom. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-17.
  2. ^ a b "Medupi Sod Turning Press Release". Retrieved 2015-08-24.
  3. ^ "How much Medupi will cost SA". Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Medupi Power Station". Eskom. Archived from the original on 2013-08-06.
  5. ^ "R33.6-billion Eskom contracts awarded for Medupi power station". 14 Nov 2007. Archived from the original on 2012-01-11.
  6. ^ "Medupi project on track for scheduled delivery". Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  7. ^ EWN, FILE: Medupi Power Station Picture. "How much is Medupi really costing the country?". Retrieved 2015-08-24.
  8. ^ "Medupi Timeline: Costs, delays spiralling – no completion in sight". Retrieved 2015-08-24.
  9. ^ "Medupi will cost R105bn to complete – for now". Retrieved 2015-08-24.
  10. ^ a b "Medupi, Kusile, and the massive cost/time overrun | Daily Maverick". Retrieved 2016-12-22.
  11. ^ "'Medupi turbine 6 at optimum capacity' - IOL Business Report".
  12. ^ "Medupi: Eskom hails 'new beginning' - IOL Business Report".
  13. ^ "Medupi Unit 5 a step closer to commercial operation". Retrieved 2016-12-22.
  14. ^ Rafey, William and Sovacool, B.K. (2011). "Competing Discourses of Energy Development: The Implications of the Medupi Coal-Fired Power Plant in South Africa," Global Environmental Change, 21(3), pp. 1141-1151.
  15. ^ "Opposition slams ANC 'about-turn' on Hitachi". Mail & Guardian Online. 14 April 2010. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  16. ^ Reporter, Staff. "Zille says ANC stands to make R1bn from Medupi".
  17. ^ News, EIN. "Log In - Power Plants News Today - EIN News".
  18. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-08-24. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
  19. ^ Friedman, Lisa (2010-04-09). "South Africa Wins $3.75 Billion Coal Loan". The New York Times.