Matimba power station
|This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of South Africa|
Matimba power station is a 3,990-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Limpopo, South Africa.
The map below shows the location of the plant, in Lephalale, Waterberg District, Limpopo.
Background on Plant
According to a 2018 case study, the adjacent Grootegeluk coal mine has sufficient coal reserves to guarantee Matimba a minimum lifespan of 35 years, extending to a possible 50 years at 2,100 - 2,130 tons of coal per hour. Another 2020 article found that at the current rate of production, the open pit mine has enough coal for the next 125 years.
The plant has been described as follows: "Compared with the national angst about Medupi Power Station’s frequent outages and design flaws, Matimba is downright boring: it simply burns coal and produces carbon dioxide, over and over again, and will do so for decades to come."
In October 2021, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment denied Eskom's request for environmental compliance postponement for the power station. Eskom appealed the decision and claimed that, if implemented, it "would have a significant negative impact on the economy and employment … and delay the country’s plans for an energy transition to a cleaner energy supply.”
According to South Africa's 2019 Integrated Resource Plan, the plant's 50-year Life Decommissioning is projected for 2037-2041. In April 2020, Eskom listed the unit retirement dates between 2038 and 2042.
In late 2021, three of its units went down simultaneously after technicians dropped an extension cord onto the unit 2 transformer. Eskom CEO André de Ruyter – who had earlier shared that criminal elements were attempting to sabotage the power utility – explained that a team had been working on the station’s dry cooling fans when they dropped the cord. This caused a flash, which tripped the station board and shut down all cooling to units 1, 2, and 3, leading to all three shutting down.
- Sponsor: Eskom
- Parent company: Eskom
- Location: Lephalale, Waterberg District, Limpopo, South Africa
- Coordinates: -23.6688333, 27.610838 (exact)
- Status: Operating
- Gross capacity: 3,990 MW (Units 1-6: 665 MW)
- Type: Subcritical
- In service: 1987-91
- Project retirement: 2037-41 (or 2038-42)
- Coal type:
- Coal source:
- Source of financing:
Articles and resources
- Eskom, "Generations Plant Mix Revision 8", May 2008.
- "Eskom, Matimba Power Plant, South Africa: Digitalizing One of the Largest Power Plants in the World", Hexagon PPM, 2018
- "The story of SA’s biggest power plant, and its little town", Mail & Guardian, April 29, 2020
- “Eskom to engage on way forward after being denied permission to delay air-quality compliance,” Engineering News, December 14, 2021
- "'No risk of power outages' as Eskom can appeal emission extension refusals," Times Live, December 15, 2021
- "Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2019)," South Africa, October 2019 (figure 26)
- "Response of Eskom to CER, Reference number: PAIA 0087 MAN," CER website, April 28, 2020
- "Eskom employee arrested — copper cable worth R540,000 confiscated," My broadband, November 24, 2021
- "Inside Eskom sabotage: Delayed report reveals how insiders helped the power station criminals," Times Live, November 28, 2021