S.Africa: Central Energy Fund signs 100MW CSP deal

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The Central Energy Fund of South Africa and ACWA Power have entered into a cooperation agreement to co-invest in renewable energy projects the first of which will be the 100MW Redstone concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plant in the country’s Northern Cape Province.

The agreement was signed on the occasion of South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, recent state visit to Saudi Arabia.

The CSP plant will go into construction later this year and feature solar energy storage technology that will allow solar energy to be utilised to generate electricity not only when the sun is shining but also through the night cumulatively dispatching 480,000MWh per year.

The plant will use a central salt receiver technology with 12 hours of thermal storage allowing the plant to generate during the evening peak demand periods. In addition, while photovoltaics (PV) or wind cannot serve the evening peak unless then linked with utility-scale batteries which are extremely expensive, the CSP Central Tower solution will in comparison generate cost competitively more than double the MWh output of electrical energy per the rated MW capacity.

The document was signed by Godfrey Moagi, acting group CEO of the Central Energy Fund and in the presence of Cyril Ramaphosa, the Saudi Minister of Finance Minister Mohamed Al-Jadaan, the Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majed Al Qassabi, the Minister of State for African Affairs, Ahmed Qattan, the Saudi Ambassador to South Africa Ghurm Al-Malhan and Chairperson of the Council of Saudi Chambers Dr. Sami Al Obaidy in addition to ACWA Power’s Chairman Mohamed Abunayyan and President & Chief Executive Officer, Paddy Padmanathan.

Mohammad Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power, commented: “We are pleased to enter into this agreement, which further strengthens our efforts supporting South Africa’s renewable energy programme. We are committed to providing the country with the most advanced and versatile solar technology solutions which can efficiently and reliably produce clean energy throughout the 24 hour period if called upon to do so.

“As efficient means of meeting rising energy demand is crucial for enabling economic growth, we will continue to explore opportunities to increase production capacity and keep challenging costs to help the country meet its requirements. Our projects in the country have, and will, also tangibly contribute towards empowering the previously marginalised population of South Africa and support socio-economic development through thousands of jobs being created over the coming decades.”

Paddy Padmanathan, Chief Executive Officer of ACWA Power, added: “With capital and operating cost of CSP plants with molten salt storage solution reducing at the same time as demand for cost competitive renewable energy increases in South Africa, our Redstone CSP plant will be able to deliver stable cost competitive electricity supply to more than 210,000 South African homes during peak demand periods which are during the night.

“CSP technology will allow power generation well after sun set and does not require back up fuel. Recognising the scarcity of water, the plant we will install will utilise the dry cooling option thus minimising water use, which also makes it one of the most appealing renewable energy options available in the world.”