A project led by Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power has been announced as preferred bidder by South Africa’s Department of Energy (DoE) to develop the 50 MW Bokpoort solar thermal power plant, not far from Upington. The group of companies taking part in the project includes as Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor a consortium comprising Acciona, Crowie, Sener and TSK, which will be in charge of building the facility and bringing it into operation.
The Bokpoort CSP plant will be located not far from the city of Upington, in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province. The plant is to be built in the vicinity of the Kalahari Desert; this will enable it to take full advantage of the exceptional solar and environmental conditions offered by this remote location. The 50MW facility will use parabolic trough technology and will feature a molten salt energy storage system.
Construction work is scheduled to end in 30 months’ time when the plant will come into operation, at a cost of around 300 million euro. The sheer size of the project comes as a challenge to the EPC consortium made up of three Spanish companies, namely, Acciona, Senet and TSK and South Africa’s Crowie. The international CSP and electric power plant experience of three partners in the EPC construction consortium stands as a guarantee of the success of the project.
As preferred bidder, Acwa Power leads the project finance with a number of private financial services companies after obtaining the South African government’s approval and commitment to purchase energy at the established tariff for a 20-year period; this process is at an advanced stage and no setbacks are expected. The process is expected to last around three months, at the end of which construction will commence. Acwa Power as South African partners for financing the project, including Solafrica and the country’s national development finance institution IDC.
This is Acciona’s third large contract in South Africa in 2012. Two projects proposed by Acciona Energy -a global front-runner in renewable energies- and Aveng -Africa’s largest infrastructures group- were selected by South Africa’s Department of Energy in the second round of the Independent Power Producers Renewable Bid (IPP REBID), an international tender aimed at developing renewables in the country. The facilities awarded are a wind farm (135.2 MW net; 138 MW nominal) and a 74MW (94 MWp) PV solar plant, both of which are slated for completion sometime between 2013 and 2014.