South Africa: Powering Up - Eskom Completes Medupi - Sort of

analysis

That the last unit of Eskom's first mega-project in 30 years has come onstream is not cause for celebration. Medupi and its evil twin Kusile will be remembered -- not for bringing power to South Africa -- but for their abject lessons in poor leadership and questionable decision making, not to mention corruption, for which South Africa will pay for decades to come.

Eskom has announced that the construction of the Medupi Power Station in Lephalale, the biggest dry-cooled and most expensive power station in the world, has been completed.

Medupi is a 4,764MW power behemoth whose rampant appetite for coal will increase by 16-million tons a year.

Completion was announced after unit 1, the last of six generation units of the project, finally attained commercial operation status at the weekend.

The power station is Eskom's first 'supercritical plant' (which technically means it burns cleaner than ordinary power plants) and attaining commercial operation status means the unit now complies with all statutory, safety and legal requirements.

However, commercial operation does not necessarily mean that it is performing optimally, which would assume an energy availability factor, among other things, of 90%. The current uptime is closer to 63.3% for the five...

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