South Africa announced huge 5,000 MW solar power plant

The South African government has announced a project regarding a huge 5,000 MW solar energy plant, whose construction could start in 2012 – said the government’s spokesperson Themba Maseko – based on the offers of investors and companies that intend to participate to the project.

An ongoing feasibility study, conducted by the Department of Energy together with the Clinton Climate Initiative (a non profit organization promoted by the former US president), already examined the project’s technological features.

It also identified the site where the plant will be built, in a semi-desert area close to the town of Upington, in Northern Cape region. The planned investment is estimated in about 150 billion rand (16 billion euros).

Maseko said that once the final data of the study will be available, a specific conference will be organized to present the project to the investors.

In the meantime Eskom, the state-owned electric utility, is already expanding its activities in the field of solar power, aiming at reducing CO2 emissions in the energy sector.

In particular, it has started building a 100 MW Concentrating Solar Power plant, also in Northern Cape region, whose construction is scheduled for 2014.

The Concentrating Solar Power plant, which is expected to cost 6 billion rand (630 million euros), has obtained a $250 million loan from the World Bank and the government is considering the opportunity of including it in a larger 5,000 MW project.