Mainstream Renewable Power inks giant South African wind energy deal

Mainstream Renewable Power has emerged as one of the big winners in the latest round of renewable energy projects to be announced by the South African government.

The government confirmed yesterday that “preferred bidders” have been selected for 17 renewable energy projects that are expected to deliver around 1.5GW of capacity. The projects include seven onshore wind farms totalling 787MW, six solar PV projects boasting 450MW of capacity, two concentrated solar power (CSP) projects with 200MW of capacity and two smaller biomass and landfill gas projects.

Ireland-based Mainstream led a consortium that was selected to develop three wind projects in the Northern Cape region: the 140MW Khobab Wind Farm, the 140MW Loeriesfontein 2 Wind Farm and the 80MW Noupoort Wind Farm.

The consortium, which includes several leading South African institutional investors and local community members, is now aiming to reach financial close for the project by next August and start construction work shortly thereafter. The projects are expected to require approximately ZAR9bn of investment.

The projects are part of the third wave of large-scale renewable energy projects to be approved by the South African government and further cement Mainstream’s position as one of the main players in the market, after it previously secured contracts to deliver 238MW of wind and solar projects through the first round of projects. The company said that its first three projects remain on track to come online in mid-2014.

Eddie O’Connor, chief executive of Mainstream Renewable Power, said the new projects would cement the company’s position as “the leading developer of renewable energy in South Africa”.

“We have three wind and solar projects due to be operational in the coming months and now a further three large-scale wind farms due to start construction next year,” he added in a statement. “More than five years ago Mainstream identified the future potential of the South African market and we are delighted that the quality of our projects and the experience of our team has been recognised today.”

The latest agreement continues a strong run of form for Mainstream, which recently inked a similar deal to build 600MW of wind and solar capacity in Chile and completed a