South Africa’s stated goal of bringing electricity to 95% of the population by 2030 is not only focused on accessibility—the country also needs to bring more reliable, available and cleaner power to its grid. With 30 billion tons of coal resources in the country, steam power will likely remain part of this mix, but thanks in part to a technology that can deliver higher efficiencies while lowering emissions, GE was chosen to support the country with the development of the two largest dry-cooled coal power plants in the world: Medupi and Kusile.
Committed to South Africa
By injecting economic activity in remote areas and creating sustainable livelihoods, large-scale projects like Medupi are great stimulators for the local economy. GE’s initial target for this project was 50% local workers, and we exceeded it delivering 70%. At its peak, Medupi had approximately 250 direct employees and over 3,500 sub-contractors on the site each day to make this power plant run, representing 32 million man hours since the beginning of construction. Today, there are still approximately 65 direct employees and 700 sub-contractor workers at Medupi.
Large-Scale Project Expertise at Work
The Medupi power plant will consist of 6 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. GE’s scope in this impressive project includes the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) of the full six turbine islands, air-cooled condensers and overall project and construction management. While the project continues, Units 5 and 6 of the power plant are already providing more than 1.6GW of energy to the country while further securing the south African grid. GE’s project management has been recognized with a Global IPMA Project Excellence Gold Award in 2016, and the IPMA Diversity Award in 2017.