The potential to generate power in the As River using the
outflow from the Lesotho Highlands Water project was first
identified in 1999. South Africa does not have many rivers
with a constant yearly flow. Generally the rivers are dry in
the winter period (May to October) and have a high flow
during the summer months (November to April).
The As River, where the project was identified, however
has an average (guaranteed) flow, which is artificially
regulated, from the Lesotho Highlands. This water flows
via the As River over a distance of approximately 300 km
to Johannesburg where it is used for drinking water
purposes. The South African and Lesotho Governments
have entered into an agreement guaranteeing the yearly
flow in the river.
Bethlehem Hydro (Pty) Ltd will be the developer, owner
and operator of 3.9MW of hydro powered independent
power plants (IPP) from two sites.
• 2.2 MW – run of river site located on the As river with a
flow rate of 26m3/s and a head of approximately 15 m
• 1.7 MW – located at the existing dam wall of the
Saulpoort Dam with a head of 10 – 12 m and a flow rate
Annual power production is expected to be approximately
Grid connection will be through dedicated power lines to
substations in the town of the Bethlehem.
Bethlehem Hydro being a renewable energy electricity
generator will reduce emission of some 25,000 tons of
Income will come from two sources. Firstly by selling
electricity generated from the hydro generator under a
long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) to the town of
Bethlehem and secondly by selling its reduction in
greenhouse gas emissions as Certified Emission Reductions
The lifespan of the business is in excess of 20 years.
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