Zuma to re-open Grootvlei power station

Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma will today officially re-open Eskom’s Grootvlei power station, which will assist with the country’s energy demand requirements by providing maintenance space for other power stations.

Located close to the town of Balfour in Mpumalanga, Grootvlei which is a coal-fired power station formed part of a total three stations that Eskom have decided to re-commission in the province.

The re-commissioning of the plant forms part of the roll-out of government’s infrastructure build programme.


 “The return to service of the Grootvlei Power Station will assist with the electricity demand requirements on the national grid by providing maintenance space for other power stations. It will also support the road to rail migration plan as well as reduce the number of heavy haulage trucks damaging the roads in Mpumalanga province,” said the Presidency earlier this week.


 Built in the late 1960s, the plant comprised of six coal fired units and has an installed capacity of 1200 megawatts. The station was mothballed in 1990 due to excess power at the time, and following a R7.2 billion upgrade it now has been returned to service.




Grootvlei’s units 5 and 6 were the first test facilities for dry cooling in South Africa. 


 The Return to Service (RTS) of a mothballed power station such as Grootvlei entails the disassembling of plant, inspection and determination of the scope of work, refurbishment or replacement of plant, and commissioning of the plant. Obsolete plant was replaced with state of the art equipment for emissions control and process automation.


 President Zuma will also inspect progress made in the construction of the Balfour Railway Line, which is intended to ferry coal to the Grootvlei power station, where he is expected to inspect progress made on the construction of the line. This is in line with migrating from road to rail in the transportation of coal.


 The railway line is approximately 30 kilometres in length and will be able to, initially transport three million tons of coal per annum to the station.


 The Balfour-Grootvlei line re-instatement project links the Eskom Grootvlei Power Station to Balfour North Station in the Mpumalanga Province. The project provides a containerised coal solution for the Eskom Grootvlei Power Station and seeks to:


  • Reduce road transport for coal transportation
  • Reduce road infrastructure damage
  • Create environmental and economically friendly logistics solutions   
  • Assist in promoting safety for road users.


 The President chairs the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission which has introduced a central coordination within the Presidency of all major infrastructure projects in all three spheres of government, to ensure closer monitoring and delivery of social and economic infrastructure. – SAnews.gov.za


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