VENTURES AFRICA – A consortium of power service providers led by SolarReserve, a leading global energy company and Saudi Arabian International Company for Water and Power Projects (ACWA Power), has been awarded preferred bidder status for a 100megawatt (MW) Concentrating Solar Power (CSP), by the South Africa Department of Energy (DOE).
The project was developed in response to the DOE’s Round 3 (CSP) Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). The Redstone Solar Thermal Power project, with the lowest tariff bid to date from any CSP project in the country, is scheduled to achieve financial close later in 2015 and commence operations in early 2018.
The first of its kind in Africa, the Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project features SolarReserve’s world-leading molten salt energy storage technology in a tower configuration with the capability to support South Africa’s demand for energy when it’s needed most – day and night. The 100 MW project with 12 hours of full-load energy storage will be able to reliably deliver a stable electricity supply to more than 200,000 South African homes during peak demand periods, even well after the sun has set.
“The Redstone project marks an important technology advancement for South Africa in solar power,” said SolarReserve’s CEOKevin Smith.
“Due to the fully integrated thermal energy storage, the plant will provide dispatchable power on-demand, just like conventional coal, oil, nuclear or natural gas-fired power plants, but without the harmful emissions or hazardous materials and without any fuel cost. In addition, the project’s delivered electricity price is the lowest of any Concentrating Solar Power project in the country to date.” Smith added.
The new project is coming at a time when South Africa is experiencing difficulties in its power supply, with the country’s biggest power utility firm, Eskom losing two of its generators.
“Two generators failed and this is part of a number of other challenges within the systems which have exacerbated the situation,” Sapa had quoted Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe to have said.
Apart from improving power in the southern African country, the Redstone project will create more than 800 direct jobs during the construction phase and also significant additional jobs related to equipment supply, manufacturing, engineering, transportation and other services.
“SolarReserve and ACWA Power have further advanced solar thermal projects in development in South Africa under the progressive REIPPPP,” said Alistair Jessop, SolarReserve’s Senior Vice President of Development. “We look forward to continuing our partnership here as well as in growing markets such as the Middle East.”
Over 40 percent of the total project value will be provided by South African suppliers – a portion of which will support BBBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) activities. South African companies will provide investment in the project of at least R2.4 billion ($206 million) and the tax revenue forecast contribution for the Redstone project is estimated to be in excess of R6 billion ($516 million) in income tax over the first 20 years of operation. In addition, during the more than 30-year operating life, the project will expend over R150 million per year in salaries and other operating costs, including land, insurance, and maintenance activities.