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Medupi Power Station Project

Medupi has achieved a significant stage in its construction by the synchronisation of its 1st unit (Unit 6) on 2 March 2015 to the National grid. 

Within the next three to six months, South Africa will see Medupi unit 6’s full potential of 794MW being fed into the South African national grid.

While Unit 6 is the first of Medupi’s six units, it should be noted that all required auxiliary services for the entire power station are ready to ensure that Medupi’s total output of 4 764MW is fully synchronised to the South African power grid upon completion and full comissioning.

Read the Media Statement on the synchronisation

Synchronisation, or first power, is the process whereby the generator in the unit is electrically connected into the power grid, in such a way that its power is perfectly aligned with all the other generators and to generate and deliver electricity into the grid.

The process is a bit like a car preparing to join the traffic flow on the highway: it has to get its gearing and speed right before it can flow in sync with the rest of the traffic.

Medupi First Oil Fire Video Clip - 17 October 2014 

Read more about progress at Medupi in the Construction Update Publications:




 Download the Medupi Fact Sheet

Medupi is a greenfield coal-fired power plant project located west of Lephalale, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Medupi is the fourth dry-cooled, baseload station built in 20 years by Eskom after Kendal, Majuba and Matimba power stations.  The name “Medupi” is a Sepedi word which means “rain that soaks parched lands, giving economic relief”.
The power station will be the fourth largest coal plant in the southern hemisphere, and will be the biggest 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. The planned operational life of the station is 50 years.


Why in Lephalale?
Eskom undertook screening and feasibility studies in order to determine the most viable plant location option for Medupi power station. Assessment criteria included:
  • availability and accessibility of primary resources, such as water and coal
  • ability of the new power station to connect to the existing Eskom network/grid
  • environmental acceptability
  •  cost of production.
Eskom ranked the Waterberg Coalfields and the Lephalale area in the vicinity of the existing Matimba Power station as the most favourable option for the establishment of a new coal-fired power station due to inter alia:
  • land availability in close proximity to the primary coal source
  • properties of coal in the area are well known due to the experience acquired through the existing Matimba Power Station
  • competitive coal prices 
Technical information


The new power station will comprise of six units with a gross nominal capacity of 800MW each, resulting in a total capacity of 4 800 MW. Construction activities commenced in May 2007, with the first of the six units of the power plant planned for first power by the end of 2014.

In an effort to improve efficiency of the station, supercritical boilers and turbines will be installed.  These operate at higher temperatures and pressures than Eskom’s other stations.  This baseload station will also use direct dry-cooling due to the water scarcity in the area.


 Interesting facts

  • The project uses enough concrete to build four Greenpoint Stadiums. In excess of 600 000m3 of concrete has been placed on site to date – equal to about 75% of the total forecast. Medupi also has the largest concrete batching facility in South Africa.
  • More steel is used than the world’s tallest building (the Burj in Dubai) - some 20 200 tons of structural steel was used for the Unit 6 boiler construction.  The overall forecast is 120 000 tons of structural steel for all six units.
  • The Medupi boiler house will stand approximately 130 meters in height
  • Job creation is expected to peak at 8 000 direct jobs during construction
  • The town of Lephalale’s gross domestic product is expected to increase by about 95% per year as a result of the construction activities.
  • The power station will directly grow SA’s GDP by approximately 0.35% per year.
  • About 40% of the project cost is expected to be spent locally
  • 22 340 meals are prepared and served daily.
  • The 800 ton crane used in the boiler construction area has a boom that can reach 140 m; which is higher than the Sandton City Tower.
  • The highest point on site is the top of the chimney – 220 m.
The uniqueness of this project lies in the fact that Medupi is being built backwards - traditionally Eskom has always started building Unit 1 and ended with Unit 6. This new approach is the result of the rock conglomeration on the southern side which is excavated and reused as the engineering fill on the northern side.