SA awards R31bn power contracts

3 March 2008

South African state-owned electricity company Eskom has awarded Alstom and Hitachi Power Africa contracts worth more than R31-billion to equip a new 4 740-megawatt coal-fired power station – dubbed “Project Bravo” – to be built in the Witbank area of Mpumalanga province.

French company Alstom has secured an estimated R13-billion contract to supply turbines and related infrastructure, while Hitachi Power Africa – a venture between Germany-based Hitachi Power Europe and South African empowerment partners – has won an R18.5-billion contract to provide boilers for the new power station.

Both companies were awarded similar contracts in November 2007 for “Project Medupi”, another coal-fired power station being constructed in Lephalale in South Africa’s Limpopo province.

French connection
Paris-based Alstom signed a contract worth more than €1.3-billion (around R13-billion) to provide six 790-megawatt steam turbine and turbo-generator packages, six air-cooled condensers and auxiliary equipment, as well as all associated erection and commissioning services for Project Bravo.

The contract with Alstom was signed on Friday during a business summit in Cape Town, attended by South African President Thabo Mbeki and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy.

“Thanks to this contract, Alstom will again be able to make an important contribution to Eskom’s capital expansion programme to increase generation capacity,” Alstom executive vice-president Philippe Joubert said in a statement last week.

“Our equipment is being used in about 80% of existing power stations in South Africa, providing us with crucial local experience.”

As part of agreements signed during Sarkozy’s visit, a number of French engineers will come to South Africa to assist both the government and Eskom to deal better with the country’s energy shortage problems.

Alstom has also won contracts to refurbish the 2 100-megawatt Arnot coal-fired power plant, adding an extra 300-megawatts to its power output by December 2010, as well as returning to service two mothballed plants, Grootvlei and Komati, which together will add an additional 2 161-megawatts to the grid by 2010.

French-based Areva is also competing to build Eskom’s proposed nuclear power station, dubbed Nuclear 1, as well as a fleet of nuclear power stations which could eventually provide up to 20 000-megawatts of electricity to the national grid.

Investment in education and skills
Engineering News reported last week that Eskom had awarded Hitachi Power Africa with a contract worth R18.5-billion to supply Project Bravo with boilers.

“After the intense negotiations we are very proud to have been awarded the six utility steam generators for Bravo,” Hitachi Power Europe chief operating officer Klaus-Dieter Rennert told Engineering News, adding that the contract put the company in the position to increase employment opportunities and invest in education and skills development.

Engineering News reported that more than 50% of the value of the contracts would be procured locally, creating thousands of jobs.

SAinfo reporter

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