Kusile Power Station

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(Redirected from Bravo Power Station)
This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of South Africa
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The Kusile Power Station (formerly known as the Bravo Power Station) is a 4,800-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station under development in South Africa.

Both Kusile and Eskom's Medupi power station are long-delayed from the initially planned April 2011 commissioning date.[1]


The undated satellite photo below shows the power plant under construction. The project is located about 15 km north of the existing Kendal Power Station and about 20 km west of Witbank, Mpumalanga.

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The power station is sponsored by state electricity utility Eskom, and originally proposed to consist of six 900 megawatt coal-fired generating units for a total generating capacity of 5,400 megawatts.[2]

An environmental impact assessment program was conducted in March 2006 and received the Record of Decision (ROD) in June 2007. The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism however revised the ROD and issued environmental authorization for the project in March 2008. The construction of the power plant began in August 2008,[3] and was planned to have a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts (6 x 800 MW).[4]

The first generating unit is scheduled to enter the South African electrical grid by the second half of 2015, with the subsequent five units being commissioned at eight- and then 12-month intervals thereafter. The last unit is expected to be in commercial operation by 2019.[5]

In 2015 it was reported that Unit 1 would come online in 2016,[6] and the last unit by 2021.[7] In March 2015 Eskom appointed ABB South Africa to replace Alstom to execute the control and instrumentation (C&I) for the Kusile power station, but said it would not delay construction.[8]

As of May 2016, Eskom's website states unit 1 of Kusile is planned for operation by end-2017.[9] In July 2016 it was reported that unit 1 was planned for commercial operation in July 2018, and unit 6 by September 2022.[10]

In December 2016, Unit 1 was synchronized with the grid,[11] and commercial operations began on August 30, 2017.[12] Unit 1 is operating with 800MW capacity, as of 2017.[13]

In April 2018, plant developer ABB said unit 2 had been synchronized.[14]

In February 2019, Eskom reported R8 billion would be needed to fix design defects at Medupi and Kusile.[15] A routine inspection found some defects in various areas of the plant, including Unit 1, the only unit in operation. The planned date for return-to-service of Unit 1 is the second week of August 2019.[16]

On March 16, 2019, Unit 3 was synchronised to the national grid.[17]

As of July 2019, units 2 and 3 – although synchronised to the grid – were still undergoing testing and commissioning, and not yet in commercial service. On Unit 2, a failure event was experienced on the induced draft (ID) fans in the first week of July 2019 after returning the unit to service from an inspection, and some minor repairs were done. Unit 6 at Kusile is being be stripped for certain replacement parts needed for Units 1, 2 and 3.[16]

In October 2020, Unit 2 achieved commercial operation.[18]

According to Eskom's 2020 Annual Report, the full plant is planned for operation in 2024.[19]

Coal Supply

In the minutes of a stakeholder briefing, Eskom state that they "will obtain most of the coal required for Kusile Power Station from Anglo Coal's New Largo operations, south east of the Kusile Power Station."[20]

According to a 2011 Sierra Club report, Eskom’s own consultants estimate that 35 new coal mines will be required to support the Medupi and Kusile plants.[21]

Anglo Coal's subsidiary, Anglo Inyosi Coal, will also supply about 17 million tons of coal to the power station for a period of 47 years.[22]


  • Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism issued a positive Record of Decision on 5 June 2007.[23]
  • February 2008: Hitachi Power Africa has been awarded the boiler contract worth R18.5 billion and Alstom S&E has been awarded the turbine island works contract valued at R13 billion."[24]
  • April 14, 2011: Black & Veatch Corp. won preliminary approval for US$805.6 million in financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank for the Kusile plant.[25][26]
  • May 31, 2011: Eskom announced that the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) had given its initial approval for a US$805 million (R5.78 billion) loan to help Eskom build the plant.[27]

Financial institution support

According to BankTrack, the following institutions are involved in supporting the Kusile Power Station:[28]

Multilateral development banks

  • African Development Bank - $500 million corporate loan, November 2008


  • Bank of America - advisory service, October 2010
  • Bank of Tokyo Misubishi UFJ - 705 million euro syndicated loan, December 2009
  • Barclays - advisory service, October 2010
  • BNP Pribas - corporate loan as part of 1,185 million euro syndicated loan
  • China Development Bank - US$2.5 billion, July 2018[29]
  • Credit Agricole - corporate loan as part of 1,185 million euro syndicated loan
  • Credit Mutuel-CIC - corporate loan as part of 1,185 million euro syndicated loan
  • Credit Suisse Group - helping with the sale of a stake
  • Deutsche Bank - 705 million euro syndicated loan, December 2009
  • FirstRand Bank Ltd - 705 million euro syndicated loan, December 2009
  • HSBC Group - 705 million euro syndicated loan, December 2009
  • JPMorgan Chase - advisory services
  • KfW IPEX-Bank - 705 million euro syndicated loan, December 2009
  • Natixis - corporate loan as part of 1,185 million euro syndicated loan
  • Nedbank Group - 705 million euro syndicated loan, December 2009
  • Rand Merchand Bank - 705 million euro syndicated loan, December 2009
  • Societe Generale - corporate loan as part of 1,185 million euro syndicated loan
  • Standard Bank - 705 million euro syndicated loan, December 2009

Export Credit Agencies

  • COFACE - corporate loan as part of 1,185 million euro syndicated loan
  • Euler Hermes Kreditversicherungs-AG (Hermes) - 705 million euro syndicated loan, December 2009
  • Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) - $805 million, April 2011

Investment Funds

  • Public Investment Corporation (PIC) - R 9 billion (US $1.2), May 2010

U.S. Export-Import Bank financing

As of October 2010, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is currently preparing for decisions regarding Ex-Im Bank financing of what would be two of the world's largest coal-fired power plants, Kusile and Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (proposed in India). August 11, 2010, marked the comment deadline for the Environmental Impact Assessment on the Kusile project. US citizens submitted nearly 7,500 public comments in opposition to the US government's contribution to the project and its environmental impacts, including annually emitting more than 150% of the annual carbon dioxide emissions from projects supported by the Ex-Im Bank in 2009. In 2004, the Ex-Im Bank adopted "global environmental standards," and in 2009 the bank adopted a carbon policy. Yet according to a recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, more than 95% of Ex-Im's energy portfolio is based on fossil fuels, and in 2009 Ex-Im Bank financing for renewable energy was less than .5% of the agency's total financing. The US Ex-Im Bank Board is expected to take up a due diligence vote on Kusile by the end of 2010.[30]

Eskom Plant Gets Approval

On April, 14, 2011 Black & Veatch Corp. won preliminary approval for $805.6 million in financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank for the Kusile plant in South Africa's Mpumalanga Province, which will include six units and have a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts.[31][32]

On May 31, 2011, Eskom announced that the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) had given its initial approval for an $805 million (R5.78 billion) loan to help Eskom build the plant. The final vote on the Ex-Im Bank’s loan for Kusile is expected in approximately 35 days after a mandatory Congressional notification period.

The South African government has indicated that it is not in a position to contribute any further funds to its Kusile and Medupi Power Station projects. In the case of Medupi, additional financing is coming from the World Bank.

The plant is expected to emit an estimated 36.8 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent per year once it is completed, the 4800 megawatt Kusile coal power plant is forecast to increase South Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions – already the biggest in Africa – by nearly 10%. In addition, it’s projected to consume more than a billion gallons of water annually and release various health-threatening pollutants into the air. South Africa has extensive coal reserves and is generating more than 90% of its electricity supply through it.[33]

China Development Bank funding

In July 2018, Eskom signed a US$2.5 billion loan agreement with the China Development Bank for the Kusile plant, helping Eskom meet its goal to secure 62% of the financial year 2018/19 funding requirement.[34]

Greenpeace report

The 2011 report, "The True Cost of Coal: The monstrous price of South Africa's coal addiction" by Greenpeace Africa and the University of Pretoria’s Business Enterprises unit calculates the full costs of the Kusile plant, from climate change to water use, and the impact on health and the environment. It was estimated that the damage caused by Kusile will cost South Africa between R31.2 billion and R60.6 billion a year, and that just 30% of Kusile’s externality cost would be able to generate five times the coal station’s proposed power with renewable energy. Roughly 70% of the total cost was water-related.

Meridian Economics report

According to a November 2017 report by Meridian Economics recommended the South Africa curtail its coal plant construction program in favor of more flexible renewable power sources. The report recommended the early retirement of three power plants (Grootvlei, Hendrina, and Komati) and the cancellation of Kusile power station Units 5 and 6. Such moves would result in financial savings in the region of R15 billion to R17 billion(US$1.14 billion to US$1.30 billion). The study warned that failing to alter the company's current construction program could push Eskom or the state into default on its financial obligations.[35]


In November 2011, Greenpeace activists chained themselves to a gate and some climbed a crane to protest the Kusile power station and South Africa's dependence on coal, a few weeks before the country will host a global conference on climate change. Authorities arrested nine people, who were ordered to return to court Nov. 21 on charges of trespassing and malicious damage to property.[36]

Corruption Allegations

In 2017, South African newspapers reported a kickback scandal following allegations regarding illicit payments by a sub-contractor for the Kusile project. In addition to handing the matter to the police the company's Assurance and Forencsic Division began an internal investigation.[37]

In December 2017, France Hlakudi, the former manager of contracts for Eskom, rejected allegations that he took bribes from Tubular Construction Projects, which was a contractor on the construction of the Kusile plant. In a statement from his attorney, Hlakudi confirmed Tubular paid his company, Hlakudi Translation and Interpretation, almost 20 million rand (US$1.5 million) for projects undertaken as part of the construction company’s corporate social investment program, including translation work.[38]

In November 2019 the Daily Maverick detailed an alleged slush fund corruption scandal involving Eskom executives and at least four contractors.[39] The scandal involved contracts worth a combined R10 billion resulting in an estimated R75 million being lost due to irregular activities.[39] At the time of the publication, the construction of Kusile was five years past its original completion date and an estimated R80 billion (US$5.4 billion) over budget.[39]

Problems with New Largo mine

A November 2017 report by Meridian Economics described the following problems with the New Largo mine:[35]

Kusile was originally designed to burn coal from the co-located Anglo American New Largo resource. Despite Anglo initiating environmental and regulatory permitting processes as far back as 2007, the mine remains undeveloped. Progress was hindered by Eskom and Anglo’s inability to find mutually agreeable terms for the coal supply agreement. Key sticking points related to the capital sharing arrangements, returns to be earned by the shareholders, and Black Economic Empowerment ownership requirements. In the interim, Eskom signed medium-term contracts for the station's initial years. Despite the substantial additional costs and externalities of importing such coal to Kusile from other mines, Eskom has only recently released a tender for long-term coal supply at the station, which is expected to include a response from New Largo. However, it is clear from interviews that due to financing challenges, a smaller version of the mine will be designed and will supply around half of Kusile's total demand (15 Mtpa at full load). This still leaves a substantial residual volume of coal to be imported to Kusile over its lifetime following the construction of New Largo. Given that Kusile was designed to be supplied by a large tied mine, the coal yard infrastructure was not designed to facilitate large-scale coal imports and will face challenges in congestion, stockpiling and blending, if 50% of its supply is imported. Procurement of many smaller, cheaper contracts will exacerbate this problem due to the greater need for coal blending and handling. These constraints will therefore require further capital investment should large imports be required.

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Eskom
  • Parent company:
  • Location: Witbank, South Africa
  • Coordinates: -25.9200701, 28.924942 (exact)
  • Status:
    • Units 1-2: Operating
    • Units 3-6: Construction
  • Gross Capacity: 4,800 MW (Units 1-6: 794.8 MW)
  • Type: Supercritical
  • Start year: Unit 1: 2017, Unit 2: 2020
  • Coal Type: Bituminous
  • Coal Source: New Largo coal mine
  • Source of financing: US$2.5 billion in debt from the China Development Bank[34]

Articles and Resources


  1. "Kusile power station ‘on course to deliver by next December,’" Business Day Live, Aug 22, 2013
  2. Mariaan Olivier, "Regulator to consider new Eskom power station licence", Engineering News, October 22, 2007.
  3. "Kusile Power Station, South Africa," Power Technology, accessed February 2015
  4. Terence Creamer, "Eskom begins standing its ground, but regaining credibility will be tough", Engineering News, June 6, 2008.
  5. "Kusile power plant project, South Africa," Power Engineering, March 21, 2014
  6. "No official new Medupi sync date, but Feb being targeted," Mining Weekly, January 8, 2015
  7. "Medupi, Kusile to be completed by 2021," Eyewitness News, Apr 22, 2015
  8. "Eskom appoints new SA contractor for Kusile," Fin 24, Mar 20 2015
  9. "Kusile Power Station Project," Eskom, accessed May 2016
  10. "Medupi, Kusile, and the massive cost/time overrun," Daily Maverick, July 7, 2016
  11. Antoinette Slabbert, "ABB preparing to hand over control of Kuile Unit 1," Moneyweb, 8 May 2017
  12. "GE’s efficient power generation and air quality control technology is deployed at Kusile Unit One in South Africa," GE, September 6, 2017
  13. "Progress at Kusile Power Station" Infrastructure News, accessed June 2019
  14. "Eskom reaches major milestone with the synchronization of Kusile’s Unit 2," ABB, 2018-04-11
  15. "Kusile and Medupi were destined to fail from the start," BusinessLIVE, May 1, 2019
  16. 16.0 16.1 Linda van Tilburg, "Still no puff from Kusile and Medupi – Chris Yelland," 29 July 2019
  17. "New Kusile unit produces power eight months ahead of schedule". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  18. Bungane, Babalwa (2020-10-29). "Eskom's Kusile Unit 2 achieves full commercial operation". ESI-Africa.com. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  19. Integrated Report, Eskom, 2020
  20. Eskom Holdings Ltd, "Second Key Stakeholder Meeting between Eskom and Topigs SA", August 19, 2009.
  21. "Move Beyond Coal, Now!: Voices from the Front Lines of the Global Struggle" Sierra Club report, Sep. 2011.
  22. "Kusile Power Station, South Africa," Power Technology, accessed February 2015
  23. Eskom, New Build News", November 2007.
  24. "Eskom Announces Major Contracts for Bravo Project", Media Release, February 29, 2008.
  25. "South African Coal Plant Wins U.S. Backing Over Environmentalist Protests" Mark Drajem, Bloomberg, April 14, 2011.
  26. "Ex-Im Bank Gives Preliminary Approval For $800M Loan To South Africa Power Plant" Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2011.
  27. "Kusile Power Station, South Africa," Power Technology, accessed February 2015
  28. "Kusile Coal Power Plant, Bank Role," BankTrack, accessed April 22, 2011
  29. "Eskom signs $2.5bn loan agreement with China Development Bank," ESI, July 25, 2018
  30. "US Ex-Im Bank May Fund Giant Coal Plants in South Africa, India" Sustainable Business News, August 11, 2010.
  31. "South African Coal Plant Wins U.S. Backing Over Environmentalist Protests" Mark Drajem, Bloomberg, April 14, 2011.
  32. "Ex-Im Bank Gives Preliminary Approval For $800M Loan To South Africa Power Plant" Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2011.
  33. Andreas Spath, "US To Finance Dirty Coal Power In South Africa" Care 2 Care, May 30, 2011.
  34. 34.0 34.1 "Eskom signs $2.5bn loan agreement with China Development Bank," ESI, July 25, 2018
  35. 35.0 35.1 Grové Steyn, Jesse Burton, Marco Steenkamp, "Eskom's Financial Crisis and the Viability of Coal-Fired Power in South Africa," Meridian Economics, 15 Novewmber 2017
  36. "Greenpeace protests South African coal-fired power station; police arrest 9" Washington Post, November 6, 2011.
  37. Siseko Njobeni, "Eskom in kickback scandal at Kusile," BusinessReport, 3 November 2017
  38. "I did not take bribes - Hlakudi," Moneyweb, 11 December 2017
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Myburgh, Pieter-Louis. "SCORPIO: Top Eskom contractors in fresh R75m Kusile slush fund scandal". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2019-11-27.

Related SourceWatch Articles

External Articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Kusile Power Station. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.