With the goal of bringing electricity to 95% of the local population by 2030, South Africa is tapping into its local resources to bring reliable, available, and cleaner power to its grid. With coal resources in the country estimated at some 30 billion tons, steam power is planned to remain a main pillar of the South African energy mix. Thanks to the latest technology that brings higher efficiency while lowering emissions, GE has been selected to support the country on its energy development in the two largest dry-cooled coal power plant in the world: Medupi and Kusile.
The First Wet Desulphurization Plant in the Continent
The Kusile power plant will consist of 6 turnkey units delivering 800MW each for a total of 4,800MW. This is enough power to meet the electricity needs of 3.5 million households in South Africa. On the project, GE oversaw the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) of turbine islands, air-cooled condensers and a wet flue gas desulphurization (WFGD) plant. The WFGD plant is an environmental control solution and is the first to be built on a power plant in Africa. While the project continues, Unit 1 of the of the power plant is already online, providing energy and further securing the country’s grid.
A Real Partnership Benefiting the Local Economy
More than 3,300 GE professionals—direct employees and subcontractor—are working every day onsite at the Kusile power plant to ensure its on-time construction and delivery. GE trained and qualified over 850 trade professionals and funded students and spent more than 18BN ZAR on local content for both the Medupi and Kusile projects. GE is committed to developing local skills including investing in a site-based welding training center to provide workplace exposure and providing bursaries for over 130 tertiary students originally from Mpumalanga Province. 80% of these bursaries were awarded for technical studies (engineering) and 20% were allocated for other disciplines, i.e. finance and IT. The student success rate is approximately 85% at various institutions within South Africa.
GE South Africa’s commitment to uplifting communities we do business in is evident in the 35M ZAR allocated towards the construction of the Sibongindawo Primary School at Wilge, located near the Kusile power plant. This joint project between GE and Eskom will ensure that the children of the Wilge community and surrounding areas, including Phola Township, will continue to benefit from world-class teaching facilities.
Besides the Sibongindawo School, $56M ZAR was also spent over the years on upgrading local school infrastructure, including the math and science programs. The Phola community also received a donation of computer equipment to enable the facilitation of business and community support services using modern technology.