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Medupi Power Project timeline and what you need to know

The Medupi power plant, is located in Lephalale, Limpopo. It is a Greenfield coal-fired power plant comprising six units rated in total at 4764MW installed capacity. Upon completion, Medupi Power Station is set to be the largest dry-cooled power station in the world. The boiler and turbine contracts for Medupi are the largest contracts that Eskom has ever signed in its 90-year history. Below is the Medupi Power Project timeline and all you need to know about the project from beginning to the present date.


Originally conceived as Project Alpha, with only three units planned to total 2400MW but the design was changed at a late stage and doubled in size. The boilers were envisaged to be supercritical in type, which would make them 38% more effective than other Eskom power stations.

Initial cost was around US $4bn but revised to around US $4.7bn.

Parsons Brinckerhoff was appointed as the project engineer to oversee all construction.


First structural concrete poured and first three air-cooled condenser columns completed.


Unit 6 boiler lift shaft completed.


First structural steel erected at Unit 6 boiler, chimney South concrete slide completed to a height of 220m and chimney North concrete slide completed to a height of 220m.


Chimney South first flue cans lined with borosilicate glass installed, upgrade of D1675 access road completed, 10 000 ton coal silo completed and auxiliary boiler completed.


Direct-current supplies energised and first 24-hour performance test of 5.4 km overland coal conveyor.

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Unit 4 generator motor threaded into stator and wet run of submerged scraper conveyor conducted, readying boilers for first fire.


Overland ash conveyor commissioned.


The first unit, no 6 turbine started running at optimal speed of 3000 revolutions per minute.


No 5 turbine undergoes load testing, primary Coal stockyard and conveyor and Ngwedi substation transformer commissioned (part of Medupi Power Station Integration Project).


Unit 4 was commissioned and Commercial operation for no 5 turbine begins.


Unit 3 enters commercial operation and Unit 2 gets synchronised.


Final unit achieved synchronisation.


Peripheral works such as overflow coal yards are undergoing expected to completed in 2021.


In mid-May, South Africa’s Deputy President David Mabuza confirmed that the Medupi Power Station will be fully operational by end of the year. According to DP Mabuza, plans are afoot to make sure that there is enough electricity in the country. He further added that the government is planning to commercialise the power project

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Dennis Ayemba
Country/ Features Editor, Kenya



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