Concentrating Solar Power in South Africa

The Bokpoort CSP project is one of 19 projects that the Department of Energy has selected in the second window of its Independent Power Producer (IPP) procurement programme. While tackling SA’s security of supply and creating jobs, the procurement programme is an opportunity for international companies to enter new markets.

Acwa Power leads a consortium in the project, which has been named as the preferred bidder for concentrated solar power (CSP) allocation in the second window. The project’s commercial operation date is planned for the third quarter of 2015.

Acwa Power CEO Paddy Padmanathan said Acwa was pleased to have entered its fourth international market and its first in Africa. "Today we own majority stakes in fully operational assets in Oman and Jordan and a project under development in Turkey, in addition to our assets in Saudi Arabia.

"The Bokpoort CSP project is a milestone in the company’s history and takes the Acwa Power further afield into the southern cone of Africa, which we see as strategic growth markets in addition to North Africa.

"It will also diversify the company’s technology portfolio and fuel mix with the addition of our first solar plant. The project will be a lead in reaching our objective of reaching a total power production capacity of 30000MW by the end of 2014, with 5% in renewables with a focus on solar power."

Acwa Power leads a consortium that includes the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Lereko Solafrica Investment, Lereko Metier Solafrica Fund 1, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund, Kurisani Solafrica Investments and Solafrica Community Investment Company.

The company said the consortium had selected another consortium of engineering, procurement and construction contractors made up of South African company Crowie Concessions and Spanish companies TSK Electrónica y Electricidad, Acciona Infrastructuras, Acciona Ingeniería and Sener Ingeniería y Sistemas.

Investec Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the state-owned IDC would provide debt funding for the project, Acwa said. The financing of the renewable energy projects has come under the spotlight with Energy Minister Dipuo Peters’s appeal this week to financial institutions to support them.

Acwa said the project would create 900 jobs during construction and 60 permanent jobs. The IPP programme is meant to produce 3725MW of power from wind energy, concentrating solar energy, photovoltaism, small hydro-gas, biogas, biomass and landfill gas by 2016.