Medupi helping build economy - Zuma

Friday, June 8, 2012

Lephalale - South Africa is on the rise and it is projects such as the Medupi Power Station that is creating growth in the economy, says President Jacob Zuma.

He was speaking at the unveiling of the Hydrostatic Pressure Test for Unit 6 at the Medupi Power Station in Limpopo on Friday. The test is meant to ensure that the boiler is fully functional and ready to start generating electricity for South Africa's national grid.

"We might not satisfy every need on the same day, but we are getting there. We are doing the right thing with regards to infrastructure that will create enough jobs," he said.

Zuma was "delighted" with regards to the progress being made with the project and the impact it was having on the community. "Electricity sounds like a simple, basic service but it is actually the lifeblood of the economy, of any economy."

Energy demand was expected to be twice the current levels by 2030 and it was therefore necessary to increase the country's power generating capacity.

"Government took the bold decision to build Medupi and other big new power stations ... Eskom is spending R340 billion on the projects making it the largest infrastructure development investment programme South Africa has ever undertaken," he added.

Projects such as Medupi demonstrated that infrastructure plans would change the lives of people in very practical terms and for the better.

The new power stations will generate and provide the electricity capacity needed to grow the economy, attract investments and create jobs. About 40 000 job opportunities are expected to be created by the new power station.

"We are excited about this project given its potential, once all six units are completed Medupi will be able to produce enough electricity to power almost all of Gauteng," Zuma noted.

The President also noted the major impact Medupi was having in Lephalale. This included the creation of jobs, increasing the GDP, skills development, the upgrading of houses and development of social infrastructure.

"Lephalale will certainly never be the same again because of the Mepudi Power Station," he added.

Zola Tsotsi, Chairman of the Eskom Board said Medupi was a "mega project". It was the first new, coal-fired power station Eskom had built in more than 20 years.

"Medupi will operate with greater efficiency - this means it will use less coal and less water for every unit of electricity it generates than all the coal-fired power stations."

The boiler and turbine contracts for Medupi are the largest contracts that Eskom has ever signed in its 87 year history. The planned operational life of the station is 50 years, he noted.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said Mepudi was one of the largest construction sites in the Southern Hemisphere.

Of particular significance, he said, was the fact the power station employed about 17 000 people who would have otherwise been without work.

The unveiling of the Hydrostatic Pressure Test for Unit 6 signifies an important milestone in South Africa's electricity infrastructure build programme as it marks a step towards completing the first unit of the Medupi Power Station.

The Hydrostatic Pressure Test is the most common statutory requirement in which newly manufactured equipment and pressure vessels such as pipelines and boilers are tested to ensure the integrity and maintain safety standards. The hydrostatic pressure test is conducted in the presence of the client and an independent inspection authority.

Medupi is due to deliver first power to the grid at the end of 2013.

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