Kusile Coal Fired Power Station in Mpumalanga has a suite of environmental risks, associated with the nature and size of the construction activities. NCC provides a suite of Environmental Professionals to manage these risks.
With the estimated annual population growth rate averaging 1.3% per year, coupled with more communities being connected to the grid, the need for reliable energy in homes around South Africa is constantly growing. This has resulted in two of Eskom’s new builds, Kusile and Medupi being built concurrently, with Kusile due to be operational in 2016 and due for completion in 2019.
Kusile, meaning ‘good morning’ in Ndebele, will be the first coal fired power station in South Africa utilising the FGD (Flue Gas Desulphurisation) technology, an atmospheric emissions abatement tool used to remove sulphur oxides (SOx) from coal-burning power stations. This is due to the fact that Kusile is located in a priority airshed area, close to Kendal power station, 40km southwest of Witbank in Mpumalanga. The power station will consist of 6 units, each providing 800MW installed capacity, resulting in 4800MW when all units are operational.
NCCs ROLE ON PROJECT:
NCC Environmental Services has been appointed as the trusted environmental compliance practitioners at Kusile since 2009, initially providing an Environmental Officer (EO) to Kusile Civil Works Joint Venture (KCW JV), the main civil contractor and an Environmental Control Officer (ECO) to the project. Since then the project has grown incrementally and the need for more EOs became apparent, NCC filled these spaces with a further two EOs. Eventually the scale of the project called for an Environmental Manager (EM) for the main civil contractor, provided by NCC, who manages three EOs, two from NCC and one from the contractor. NCC also provides a further 2 EO’s to other contractors on Site
As with any large construction project, there are various environmental risks brought about by construction activities. This is no different at Kusile as the construction activities are situated in close proximity to wetlands. Although work in proximity of wetlands is no longer a challenge for the KCW JV, the broader project still faces challenges as many contractors are working in or near wetlands.
Waste Management is one of the more serious challenges that contractors are faced with which could have dire environmental consequences if not managed correctly. KCW JV have the largest batching plant on the project which results in a significant amount of waste water, as well as cement sludge and concrete waste. General construction waste and recyclable waste is separated on site and managed by the EOs.
Managing environmental risks on site does not only benefit the environment by preventing environmental damage but also reduces the client’s broader company risks by preventing rather than remediating significant impacts. Due to the experience NCC has in the construction environmental management industry risks can be reduced from the outset of the project, as has been achieved at Kusile.