South African state-owned power utility Eskom has awarded the Rand20 billion boiler and Rand13 billion turbine contract for the Medupi power station in Limpopo province to Hitachi and Alstom, respectively.

The 4800 MW coal fired plant will be the largest dry-cooled power station in the world. It will also be the largest coal-fired power plant in South Africa and the country’s first supercritical power plant.

The boiler and turbine contracts combined are the largest that Eskom has ever signed in its 84-year history. Over 50 per cent of the combined value of the contracts is to be procured locally.

Brian Dames, Eskom’s Managing Director for Enterprises Division said, “The signing of these two contracts marks a significant milestone in our capacity expansion programme. We are proud that South African suppliers will benefit and develop their skills base from the execution of these contracts.”

Under its EUR1.4 billion contract Alstom will supply six turbine islands comprising steam turbines, turbogenerators, air-cooled condensers, turbine island auxiliary equipment and associated erection services. Hitachi’s EUR2 billion contract involves the design, installation and startup of six supercritical tower type Benson steam generators.

Construction work on the six power plant units will begin in mid-2008, with steel erection work scheduled to start in the first half of 2009. The six 800 MW units will be commissioned in turn between 2011 and 2015.

Philippe Joubert, Alstom Executive Vice President and President of Alstom Power Systems commented, “Alstom is proud to contribute to Eskom’s capital expansion programme to increase South Africa’s power generation capacity. We have a long history of supplying Eskom and we are happy to be involved in what will be a landmark project in Africa.”

Around 45 per cent of Alstom’s and 60 per cent of Hitachi’s contract will be executed locally.