The Department of Energy of the Republic of South Africa has selected a project headed by the Saudi company Acwa Power as the preferred bidder to develop the 50 MW Bokpoort solar thermal power plant near the city of Upington. The group of companies that will participate in the contract will include a consortium as its EPC contractor (Engineering, Procurement and Construction), which will consist of SENER, Acciona, Crowie and TSK and will be responsible for the construction works, commissioning and start up of the power plant.
The Bokpoort thermosolar power plant (CSP) will be located near the city of Upington, in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province. The location of the plant in the vicinity of the Kalahari Desert will take advantage of the magnificent solar and environmental conditions of the remote area. The facility will have 50 MW of power. Its technology will consist of SENERtrough® parabolic troughs, a system developed and patented by SENER, and it will use a nine-hour molten salt heat storage system, similar to a system SENER has applied in 14 thermosolar plants, half of which are already in commercial operation.
It will take 30 months to build and commission the plant, with an approximate cost of €300 million. A project of this magnitude represents a challenge for the EPC Consortium, made up of three Spanish companies (SENER, Acciona and TSK) and the South African company Crowie. The experience of the companies which make up the EPC constructor consortium both in thermosolar plants and electrical generation facilities on a general international level ensures the project will be a success.
Acwa Power, as the ‘Preferred Bidder’ will be responsible for securing the project’s financing from private financial institutions upon receiving approval and a guarantee of the energy’s sale to the South African government at a fixed rate over 20 years, a process that is already in its latter stages, with no foreseeable impediments. This process is expected to last three months, after which construction work may begin. Acwa Power has South African partners who can finance the project, including Solafrica and the government body, IDC.
In the field of renewable energy, the SENER Group is the leader in the global thermosolar power market, in terms of both the technology it develops and the number of projects in its portfolio. To date, SENER has participated in 26 thermosolar power plants in Spain, the US and India, representing 1550 MW of power either installed or in construction, and effectively saving 1,000,000 tons of CO2 from being dumped into the atmosphere every year.