Kusile coal-fired Power Station protest, South Africa

One of the world's four largest coal-fired Power Stations, the Kusile Powerplant, sparks protests over its environmental impacts.


The Kusile power station is a coal-fired power plant project sponsored by the South African state electricity utility Eskom. Originally, Eskom proposed a plant consisting of six 900 MW coal-fired generating units, adding up to a total generating capacity of 5,400 MW.

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Basic Data
NameKusile coal-fired Power Station protest, South Africa
CountrySouth Africa
ProvinceMpumalanga Province
SiteHartbeesfontein and Klipfontein farms, Nkangala District
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Thermal power plants
Coal extraction and processing
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe proposed Kusile coal-fired power station was originally proposed to hold six 900 MW coal-fired generating units, guaranteeing a generating capacity of 5,400 MW. By August 2008 however, the total capacity has been reduced to 4,800 MW.
Project Area (in hectares) 1,355 hectares
Level of Investment (in USD)approx. 10,140,990,630 USD
Type of PopulationUnknown
Potential Affected PopulationApprox. 219,403 (according to Greenpeace report 2011)
Start Date01/03/2006
End Date01/12/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesESKOM from South Africa
Alstom from France
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGreenpeace Africa: http://www.greenpeace.org/africa
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Although the protests have stirred the debate about coal in South Africa and have contributed to a delay in construction of the Kusile coal-fired power station, the project is still under construction and the first unit synchronisation of Kusile Unit 1 is now scheduled for the first half of 2017.
Sources and Materials

The Center for Media and Democracy, Kusile Power Station, SourceWatch Database,
[click to view]

Business Enterprises, University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd, (2011), The External Cost of Coal-Fired Power Generation: The case of Kusile, Prepared by Business Enterprises at University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd for Greenpeace Africa and Greenpeace International, 29 September 2011,
[click to view]


Kusile Power Station Project, ESKOM Homepage,
[click to view]

Greenpeace stages protest at South African coal power station, Associated Press, The Guardian, 7 November 2011,
[click to view]

Greenpeace Protests South African Coal Power Station, by Donna Bryson, Associated Press, Huffington Post, 7 November 2011,
[click to view]

Kusile coal power plant, South Africa, Banktrack.org, April 2011,
[click to view]

Media Links

Protest at coal power station, Multimedia South Africa, news24,
[click to view]

Top 10: Pics from Kusile Action, Greenpeace Africa,
[click to view]

Other Documents

The construction site for Eskom's Kusile power plant near eMalahleni, Mpumalanga. 17 January 2015 eNCA/Bianca Bothma
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update19/09/2015