Licence hearings for long-awaited DoE peaking plants in July


                                (Picture by: Duane Daws)

Material progress appears to have been made on the Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) much-delayed plan to introduce new peaking power capacity by 2013.
The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has confirmed that it will host public hearings on July 13 into applications for generation licences for a 670 MW open-cycle gas turbine (OCGT) near Shakaskraal, north of Durban, and a second 335 MW facility, which is proposed for the Coega industrial development zone, in the Eastern Cape.
Nersa will also hear licence applications for a 2.5 MW solid wood gasification facility to be developed in Graskop, in Mpumalanga, by Sherpa Trade & Invest, as well as Electrawinds Africa’s 1.8 MW wind turbine, also in the Coega zone.
The two OCGT projects, known as the Avon and Dedisa peaking power projects respectively, are being developed by the Suez-Inkanyezi consortium, which is led by GDF Suez, of France.
Initially, the DoE selected an AES-led consortium as the preferred bidder, but negotiations were terminated in April 2008. A month later, talks were launched with Suez-Inkanyezi, which was the only other respondent to the DoE’s request for proposals. However, the DoE indicated at the time that it would not restrict itself to the bid initially submitted by the consortium, but would instead seek a “negotiated outcome”.
The combined nameplate capacity of the two plants will be 1 005 MW, which falls slightly short of the 1 020 MW outlined in South Africa’s integrated resource plan for electricity, approved earlier this year.
The Avon facility, 45 km north of Durban, is expected to begin operating from November 1, 2013, and comprises four OCGT units.
The developers expect it to produce 43 000 MWh during its two-month operational period in 2013, but for sales to climb to 255 000 MWh/y from 2014 onwards.
The 335 MW Dedisa plant should be operational by the end of July 2013 and produce 53 000 MWh by the end of that year. From 2014 onwards, the developers expect the plant to produce at a yearly rate of 127 000 MWh.
In other words, both plants are expected to operate for 400 hours a year.
It is anticipated that 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) for both facilities will be concluded with Eskom, which is currently South Africa’s single buyer. No details have been provided in the public information pack as to the anticipated tariff under those PPAs.
The DoE did not immediately respond to questions posed by Engineering News Online on the likely tariffs and whether Eskom is indeed the buyer of the power from the two plants.
The Dedisa OCGT will be connected to Eskom’s Dedisa substation, and the electricity will be fed into the grid at a transmission voltage of 400 kV. At the Avon substation, the power will be fed in at a transmission voltage of 275 kV.
Grid Code exemptions have been granted for both plants, which have also secured environmental impact assessment records of decision.
However, the Avon site still needs to be subdivided and rezoned from agricultural to industrial use.
GDF Suez’s Maarten van der Horst tells Engineering News Online that the project has been progressed to a “final phase of development”.
But he stresses that conclusion remains subject to final approval by governmental stakeholders, including the DoE, in its position as “project officer”.
He did not offer details as to the likely capital costs, the technology partner, nor the anticipated tariffs, all of which are not currently in the public domain.

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