Power from Medupi not until late 2013, says minister

coal miningIn answer to a parliamentary question put to him at an energy portfolio committee  meeting before Parliament closed for the Easter recess on Friday, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba confirmed that Eskom’s new Medupi coal-fired plant will start supplying power the second half of next year.

In the original plan, the Medupi plant was supposed to come on line late last year but strikes were experienced at the Limpopo plant and certain  “geo-technical, design and construction issues were experienced” , he subsequently said in a written reply.

SAPA has reported that the minister also said, “The design delays were as a result of certain critical civil design factors, which were not concluded timeously enough for construction. The construction delays experienced in the boiler area were attributable to structural steelwork design, manufacturing, logistics and construction.”

Gigaba added that in terms of the contract, “Eskom had relief against the contractor” in terms of delay damages and performance guarantees, among others, but SAPA in its release added that the minister had added that “liability was limited”. This does not seem to have altered the fact that added power supplies are late on schedule.

“Based on the current programme, it is expected that Medupi will begin producing electricity from its first unit in the second half of 2013,” the minister said.

Industry investors are reported as stating that greenfields projects will be delayed unless considerably more guaranteed are supplied on continuous supplies without blackouts in the meanwhile.

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