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Bokpoort concentrated solar plant inaugurated

By ACWA Power on 18 March 2016
Bokpoort concentrated solar power plant near Groblershoop in the Northern Cape (Image: The Energy Blog)

Trade Ministers from South Africa and Saudi Arabia jointly inaugurated the Bokpoort Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Project, which has been developed by a consortium led by ACWA Power in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, marking the official launch of the R5 billion project.

South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister, Mr. Rob Davies and Dr. Tawfig Fawzan Alrabiah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Commerce & Trade officiated at the ceremony, at the site, which will provide enough power to supply more than 200,000 homes.

The project was developed as part of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme, and will contribute significantly to the government initiative to augment much needed power capacity, attract foreign direct investment, and create jobs while also stimulating the country’s economy. The tariff offered by ACWA Power at the second procurement window was 12% lower than the cap set by government for CSP technology in that round.

“The formal inauguration of the Bokpoort CSP plant is a significant milestone in supplying South Africa with reliable and cost competitive renewable electricity,” said ACWA Power Chairman, Mohammad Abunayyan. “The success of the project demonstrates a robust partnership between the Government of South Africa, through the Department of Energy, and ACWA Power.”

“We see this as the start of an enduring partnership with South Africa to augment the foundation for economic growth and social development” he added.

Equipped with more than nine hours of thermal storage capacity, the Bokpoort CSP plant operates like a giant rechargeable battery. This unique utility scale storage system allows this power plant to feed over 200 000 South African households with electricity during the day and night. Bokpoort CSP is utilising the only reliable renewable technology available to South Africa today at a commercial scale to cover the country’s daily evening peak demand from 5pm to 9pm which is crucial for increasing sustainable supply for Eskom, the South African public electricity utility .

Chris Ehlers, the company’s managing director for the Southern Africa region said: “We are here to serve the nation and to contribute to its development. Our commitment to the development of South African economy beyond reliably supplying renewable energy at a cost competitive tariff is demonstrated by the R2 billion worth of locally sourced components made in South Africa that has been used in the construction of this plant and the creation of 1,300 construction jobs.”

“Furthermore, In addition to sharing 5% of the ownership of this business venture with the local community via a community trust and 5% ownership with the national non-profit organisation, LoveLife, we have also committed R5 million to date in providing education and training for people from the local community and in improving  social infrastructure in the area. ” he said.

ACWA Power, headquartered in Saudi Arabia is a developer, investor, co-owner and operator of a portfolio of power generation and desalinated water production plants with presence in 12 countries, with an investment value in excess of USD 32 billion, which can generate 22.8 GW of power and produce 2.5 million m3 /day of desalinated water.

The project has been highly recognised throughout the industry, recently being awarded the title of African Community Project of the Year at the African Utility Week Industry Awards as well as Project Finance ‘Deal of the Year’ by PFI, and World Finance’s Solar Deal of the Year.

Bokpoort CSP plant is the first in a series of investments in the power sector that ACWA Power is making in South Africa. The company is expecting to commence construction on the 100 MW Redstone CSP Project, also in Northern Cape, and is awaiting the outcome of tender submissions for a 300 MW coal-fired plant in Mpumalanga and another 150 MW CSP plant also at Northern Cape.

bokpoort2 Bokpoort concentrated solar power plant near Groblershoop in the Northern Cape (Image: Stephen Forder)
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