Deputy President David Mabuza has been given the assurance that the Kusile power station will be completed within the 2024/25 financial year and within the budget of R161.4 billion. The initial budget was around R81 billion.
During 2015, while far from being completed, the estimated cost of the project was increased to R118.5 billion. Various reports found corruption and mismanagement at Kusile, which was also beset by technical problems.
But two years ago, Eskom again increased the estimated cost – this time to R161.4 billion. Responding to questions in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday, Mabuza said the project budget remains unchanged.
The Kusile power station project is a green-fields coal-fired power plant which is located near the existing Kendal power station near eMalahleni in the Nkangala District, Mpumalanga. Commercial operation is when the construction and optimisation of the unit are complete and the operator, in this case, Eskom Generation, takes over the plant and runs it on a regular basis.
Kusile will comprise six units, each producing 800MW for a total capacity of 4 800 MW. Upon completion in 2022, it will be the fourth-largest coal plant in the world. The station – which was supposed to contribute 10% of Eskom’s electricity supply – has a total planned operational life of 50 years.
Kusile is the first power plant in Africa to implement clean fuel technology such as flue-gas desulphurisation – 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.