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ABB preparing to hand over control of Kusile Unit 1

Commercial operation expected ‘within few months’.

After being appointed mid-stream early in 2015 to take over the provision of the control and instrumentation at Eskom’s embattled Kusile build project, ABB is currently optimising Unit 1 and getting ready to hand over the control to Eskom when the unit goes into commercial operation within the next few months.

Unit 2 is on track to be synchronised later this year and put into commercial operation early next year, with the whole project to be completed in 2020.

Eskom in March 2015 announced that it replaced France’s Alstom with Swiss firm ABB Ltd. in the control and instrumentation (C&I) contract for its much-delayed Kusile power station.

At that stage, Eskom was battling to keep the lights on and Kusile and its sister power station, Medupi, were years behind schedule and over budget.

Moneyweb recently visited Kusile, which is the fourth largest coal-fired power station in the world and the biggest in Africa, as a guest of ABB and spoke with Sifiso Mazibuko, Eskom project leader and Ingo J Wagner, group vice president of ABB.

 

Kusile fast facts:

Generation capacity: 4 800MW (6 x 800MW)

Cabling: 5 300km to be installed on-site

Signals: 207 000

First flue gas desulferization plant in sub-Saharan Africa

Situated: Near Eskom’s Kendal power station about 40km west of eMalahleni in Mpumalanga

Budget to completion: R156 billion

Revised completion date: 2020

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So this is what passes for on time and on budget amongst ESKOM’s highly paid executive management and project management team?

5300 Km of cabling, which I presume will be mainly copper. They will need plenty of highly electrified fencing to keep the cable thieves out. A few Rottweilers as well, perhaps.

Eskom takes 10 years to deliver 1 unit of Kusile and the total project will be more than 14 years. It seems that Eskom has learnt that only incompetence is rewarded in JZ’s ANC.

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