Eskom has announced the official names of four of its new power stations, two of which will be commissioned in the next two months. These power stations form part of Eskom’s new build programme in which Eskom will invest R150-billion over the next five years.
Power stations are given project code names during the planning phases – which includes feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments. Official names are selected for each power station once the projects have progressed sufficiently and have received the required authorisations, including a positive record of decision from the department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism.
Eskom embarked on a process to identify suitable names for the four stations that are currently either under construction. The four stations are project Alpha – a coal-fired station in the Lephalale area in Limpopo Province, project Hotel – a pumped storage scheme on the escarpment between the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal in the Ladysmith area, and project OCGT – two liquid fuel open cycle gas turbine stations in the Western Cape – one in Mossel Bay and the other in Atlantis.
Prior to the 1970s, natural or manmade features in the vicinity of power stations were used to name the stations, such as Salt River Power Station in the Western Cape and Umgeni Power Station in Natal. During the 1970s and 80s the naming convention changed to indigenous words related to the generation of electricity. The convention has been refined with Eskom contracting independent researchers to examine the history of the areas in which new projects are planned and to identify names that reflect the cultural heritage of the area.
The official name for the coal-fired power station in the Lephalale area that currently has the code name Project Alpha will be Medupi Power Station. The name Medupi means “the rain that soaks parched lands, giving economic relief”. Medupi will be a 4200 MW (6 units) base-load power-station.
Project Hotel in the Drakensburg area will be known as Ingula Power Station. The name Ingula alludes to the creamy contents at the top of the milk calabash. Ingula, currently under construction, will be a pumped-storage scheme with a generating capacity of 1330 MW. This will be a peaking station that will be used primarily during the periods in the morning and evening when there is a peak in the demand for electricity.
The gas turbine station (project OCGT) in Atlantis will be known as Ankerlig Power Station. The name Ankerlig is derived from an Afrikaans expression “om die anker te lig”, which is symbolic of a community which rises above the chains of poverty to experience growth and prosperity. Project OCGT at Mossel Bay will be known as Gourikwa Power Station. The name Gourikwa is the name of the tribe that lived in the area in which the power station is being built. Collectively, the two OCGT power stations will add another 1050 MW to the national grid. Eskom already has plans in place for the OCGTs to deliver an additional 1050 MW, increasing the total output of the two OCGTs to 2100 MW. The OCGT’s are also intended to primarily provide electricity during peak demand periods. All four power stations are important elements of the capacity expansion programme on which Eskom has embarked to supply South Africa’s future electricity needs.