Medupi Power Plant

Dec 12, 2011

MISSION  32 of  2011

Name of Mission: Medupi Power Plant
Date of Mission: 12 December 2011
Aircraft used: Cessna         
Pilot: Philip Wakeley    
Beneficiary: groundwork and BIRN   

Objective of the Flight:          

The objective of the flight was to obtain aerial footage of the major coal fired power plants and mines of the Lephalale area in the Limpopo region of South Africa. 

Beneficiary’s story of the mission        By Casey Cooper Johnson       

Implications of the Grootegeluk Coal Mine, the Matimba Power Station and the new Medupi Power Station, currently under construction, are that they will have major environmental impact on the surrounding region and the inhabitants of Marapong and other townships and cities of the region.  In order to properly view the scope and scale of these plants and mine, a view from above is the best way to understand how massive this operation really is.

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The co-operation between groundWork and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) goes back to a common challenge faced in both South Africa and Kosovo, new large-scale coal fired power plants.  GroundWork activists have travelled to Kosovo, while more recently, Kosovar activists and media visited South Africa during the UN Climate Change Conference in 2011.

In the process, the two organisations are collaborating on a wider media outreach around the new coal projects, focusing on their effects on local environment and health, national energy security and economy, and global CO2 emissions.  As a part of this media work, extensive filming around the new Medupi Power Station is being conducted, both in the communities affected, and from the air.

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This footage will be used for documentary work, TV news, and online awareness around the environmental impacts of the new coal fired power plants, both in South Africa and internationally.  It was an extraordinary trip and the footage is invaluable to the purpose of creating wider media publicity around the local impacts of the Medupi Power Station. 

Was the objective met?           

Yes, the filming went as planned.  After several days of poor weather, Philip capitalised on a sunny morning to get our team in the air for a four-hour journey up to Lephalale, where we successfully filmed all the desired locations in our mission.  The footage has been made available to groundWork, Earthlife, Greenpeace, and to any South African civil society organisation involved in issues of energy and climate change.

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