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Kusile Power Station Project

Eskom's new coal-fired power station

Project description

The Kusile power station project, which is located near the existing Kendal power station, in the Nkangala district of Mpumalanga, will comprise six units, each rated at an 800 MW installed capacity for a total capacity of 4 800 MW. Once completed, Kusile will be the fourth-largest coal-fired power station in the world.

The Kusile project will include a power station precinct, power station buildings, administrative buildings (control buildings and buildings for medical and security purposes), roads and a high-voltage yard.

The associated infrastructure will include a coal stockyard, coal and ash conveyors, water-supply pipelines, temporary electricity supply during construction, water and wastewater treatment facilities, ash disposal systems, a railway line, limestone offloading facilities, access roads (including haul roads) and dams for water storage, as well as a railway siding and/or a Railway line for the transportation of the limestone supply.(sorbent)

The power station will be the first in South Africa to install flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) – a state-of-the-art technology used to remove oxides of sulphur, such as sulphur dioxide, from exhaust flue gases in power plants that burn coal or oil. This technology is fitted as an atmospheric emission abatement technology, in line with current international practice, to ensure compliance with air-quality standards, especially since the power station is located in a priority air shed area.

The FGD plant is a totally integrated chemical plant using limestone as feedstock and producing gypsum as a by-product. Each supercritical tower boiler (highly efficient) will be about 115 m high. The air-cooled condensers (ACC) will be constructed on and supported by 60-m-high concrete columns.

The plant will use an air-cooling system to help conserve water. A total of 16 000 t of structural steel was used for the first unit’s boiler construction and it is expected that 115 400 t of structural steel will be used for all six units and the Balance of plant.

The operational life of the power station is expected to be 60 years. The total estimated cabling to be installed for Kusile  is 5,300 km.

The bulk of the coal will be sourced from mine mouths in the local area, with further exploration continuing.

Costs as at 31 January 2015 - Inception to date – R82 Billion excl Interest during construction.
Total cost R118.5 Billion excluding interest during construction, cost of cover and inflation.

Eskom indicated that the first synchronisation of Kusile Unit 1 is now scheduled for the first half of 2017, with the 800 MW unit expected to enter commercial operations only in the second half of 2017. 

Latest developments
Amid the confusion about whether the technical requirements had been fully met during the recent Medupi Unit 6 blow-through, Eskom and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Africa (MHPSA) have set up a joint technical task team to review and optimise the blow-through procedure ahead of future blow-through tests on the 11 other Medupi and Kusile units.

MHPSA, previously known as Hitachi Power Africa, is the main boiler contractor at the troubled power projects, which have been plagued by delays, labour strike and funding difficulties.
Eskom, which is facing major claims across both sites, is yet to provide a final cost estimate for the projects and, besides promising that Medupi Unit 6 will be synchronised in February, it has also not provided a definitive update regarding the expected interval between units.
However, it recently reported that the first synchronisation of Kusile Unit 1 is scheduled for the first half of 2017. The schedule for Kusile Unit 1, contained in CEO Tshediso Matona’s most recent state of the system presentation, represents a major delay from earlier indications that the milestone could be achieved in the first half of 2016.
Kusile recently achieved a few Project Milestones as a build-up towards Unit 1 Synchronisation. In October of 2014 the 910 MVA Generator Step-up Transformer weighing 300Tons was put on its foundation, assembled with all its Auxiliary systems and filled with  128 000 Litres of Mineral Oil. All Electrical integrity test were performed successfully to confirm that the transformer is ready to receive power. Unit TurboGen set was put on Electrical Barring also in October. This is also critical in that it demonstrates the good quality work that has gone into the assembly of the High Pressure, Intermediate Pressure and the Two Low Pressure Turbine Cylinders coupled to the Generator Rotor. These massive cylinders were rotated and they turned freely supported by the Bearings on which they are mounted.
In September a Lubricating Oil Flush was also done to all the Bearings on the Turbine train to ensure that sufficient oil will be supplied to the bearings for lubrication and to also confirm that there are no leaks and blockages in the pipework. The Main Civils joint venture contractor (made-up of WBHO, Group 5, Staffanuti Stocks and Basil Read) also completed the concrete pour of Unit 6 TurboGen Foundation, comprising of  3600 Cubic meters of concrete. This is a 36 Hour continuous concrete pour that went well without hindrances.
Approximately 300 Employees were involved in preparing and placing Rebar and concrete  shutters. All this took about Three Months to execute. The same contractor re-accessed the Boiler 1 area to build the foundation of the Submersible Scrapper Conveyor (SSC) of the boiler. This is where the Hot Ash from the combustion chamber falls into a bath tub filled with water and is removed via a steel chain (SSC).
MHPSA were Not about to be outshined by others, as they also finished lifting the Gantries of the Inclined Coal Conveyers system onto the concrete plinths. These gantries will house the 3 x 750mm wide Coal Conveyors feeding 390 Tons of Coal per Hour per boiler. The incline conveyors rise from the ground (0 Meters) under the 1000 Tons Surge Bin Coal Silo to about 60m into Boiler House.
The blow-through is one of the final commissioning steps ahead of grid synchronisation and is used to flush out construction debris, cleaning the steam of residue and particles prior to feeding it through to the turbine.

Temporary pipework is used to ensure the turbine is bypassed until specific steam velocity, flow rates and disturbance criteria are achieved to ensure that the steam is cleaned to the point where it cannot damage the turbine. A steel target plate is installed inside the temporary piping under the direction of the turbine supplier, in this case Alstom, to test the cleanliness of the steam.
It is also good to note that Kusile has spent more than R100 Million on CSI projects. Currently Kusile in partnership with Alstom is building a school in the Wilge area to the tune of R28 million. It is anticipated that the school will be operational in the 2016 school year.
In addition to doing work on CSI, Kusile is committed to Enterprise development, since the inception of the project, Kusile has spent more than R6.2 billion on 604 companies in the Mpumalanga area, this is a clear sign of its commitment to developing both black owned companies and black women owned companies.