Upington Energy Plan for Solar park (South Africa)


Transcript: Post Cabinet briefing by Themba Maseko, Government Spokesperson

Journalist: If you could respond to the Upington Energy Plan for the Solar park – the nature of that park or the geographical area, the sort of technologies that could be included, whether it includes the 100 megawatts Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Project of Eskom. Also the nature of the investor confidence that you spoke about and when that could be? And then finally, when the integrated resources plan – because all these investments hinge on that plan – will go before Cabinet? 
Themba Maseko: The feasibility study looked at various possibilities for the location. It looked at the technologies that need to be put in place for that particular plant and whether all existing initiatives, including Eskom’s, will be incorporated into that solar park. At this point in time the recommendations and we must say the feasibility study is not yet complete but all indications are that in fact a site has been identified in Upington, largely because of its geographical location, the amount of sun that is available, the nature of the land, flat surface available in that part of the country. So all of those factors were taken into account and the idea is that the park will include a variety of technologies that are available for the sector. Obviously the feasibility study is also looking at the cost implications of various technologies and that is why it is suggested that as soon as the feasibility study is completed, various technologies will be identified. Those will be presented to an investors conference to test the flavour or the appetite of the investors to actually support an initiative of this nature. Initial indications are that the initiative could cost up to R150 billion so in making the final decision, Government has to look at all the various possibilities, but it’s very clear that it’s going to have to include a huge chunk of investment from the private sector. It will be a park that includes the plant itself but also a lot of support industries are expected to set up in the facility of the solar park. The possibilities for massive job creation in that area is something that is of great interest to Government but at this particular point in time we are still talking about a report that’s being finalised and at the end of September we may be able to give you more details about the proposal from the feasibility study. So that’s all we can say for now at this point. When will the final IRP report be presented to Cabinet – I can’t give you an exact date but I know that extensive work has been done in that regard and it should be finalised fairly soon.


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