Concentrating Solar Thermal Power (CSP) is one of Eskom’s first utility-scale projects outside the existing hydro portfolio and places the company on a path towards reducing its carbon footprint.
State-owned power utility Eskom and France-based development finance institution Agence Française de Développement (AFD) agreed in October to facilitate the signing of a €100-million credit facility agreement, which will assist in funding Eskom’s 100 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant near Upington, in the Northern Cape.
Concentrated Solar Thermal Power comprises a family of technologies that concentrate the sun’s energy through large mirrors and then use this concentrated thermal energy to produce steam, which drives a conventional steam turbine for elec- tricity generation. The technologies are similar to conventional power plants in that steam is used to power a turbine and generator, but the fossil fuel combustion is replaced with free, nonpolluting solar energy.
Eskom CEO Brian Dames says: “Concentrated Solar Thermal Power is one of Eskom’s first utility-scale projects outside the existing hydro portfolio and places the company on a path towards reducing its carbon footprint and investing in a sustainable energy future.”
The CSP project is expected to deliver a yearly energy production of 525 GWh and will be sufficient to power 200 000 homes. “The leveraging of finance from institutions such as AFD will contribute to the country’s low-carbon trajectory and commitment to climate change. The CSP project will pave the way for industrial development and job creation by promoting the localisation of this technology. This further cements our relationship with AFD and Eskom is delighted to journey with this institution as the company delivers on its mandate,” says Eskom renewables senior GM Ayanda Nakedi.
AFD is cofinancing the CSP plant together with financial firms the African Development Bank, the Clean Technology Fund, the Euro-pean Investment Bank, the World Bank and Germany-based public law institution KfW.
Speaking about Eskom’s relationship with AFD, Eskom acting CFO Caroline Henry says: “AFD is a valued partner and has been a key contributing factor to the progress Eskom has achieved at both the Upington CSP plant and the Sere wind farm. In total, AFD has concluded €200-million in credit facility agreements, which has gone towards these two renewable-energy projects.”
The Sere wind farm is currently under con- struction and is scheduled to be in full com- mercial operation by the end of 2014. The wind farm will generate up to 100 MW of power.
In 2011, Eskom and AFD signed a €100-mil- lion loan facility for the financing of the Sere wind farm on the Skaapvlei Farm, near Vredendal, in the Western Cape.