CSP Today investigates developments on the new CSP project in Bokpoort, South Africa
By Annabel Eaton
A joint venture between Saudi developer of power and water projects, ACWA Power International, and South African energy development company, Solafrica Thermal Energy, has won the second Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) bidding window of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) in South Africa.
The CSP allocation for window two is 50 MW, all of which is to be taken up by the joint venture between ACWA Power and Solafrica. The new project, called the ACWA Power Solafrica Bokpoort CSP Power Plant, will be located in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, 600 km west of Johannesburg.
ACWA Power/Solafrica announcement
Energy Minister, Dipuo Peters, announced at the end of May that ACWA Power as lead developer together with Solafrica Thermal Energy as co-developer would be responsible for the Bokpoort CSP independent power project.
The Bokpoort project was one of only 19 projects selected by the Department of Energy (DoE) out of the 79 bids submitted for the second window of the first Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers (IPP) programme, and was the only CSP technology selected.
“In this Window, the Department received 79 bids of which 51 met the qualification criteria as per the Request for Proposals (RFP) of the REIPPP,” Petersexplained. “However, given the MW limitation and competition, only 19 bidders were selected as preferred bidders for window two.”
The 19 projects selected in window two represent 1 043.9 MW of potential capacity, Peters continued. The first 28 preferred bidders selected in window one represented 1 416 MW of capacity, and were announced in December 2011.
Overall, the REIPPP, which is seeking to produce 3 725 MW of renewables capacity, is expected to attract investments of around R100 billion between 2012 and 2016.
The second window projects were valued collectively at close to R28 billion. “It is estimated that by the end of its maximum five window bid process the IPP programme will attract project proposals to the value of R100 billion over its lifetime,” Peters said.
Marc Immerman, a Director of Solafrica Thermal Energy, outlined the type of technology to be used for the Bokpoort CSP project.
“We will use parabolic trough technology. Given the nascent nature of the CSP industry in South Africa, we felt it would be prudent to work with the most deployed CSP technology globally.”
Unique to this project is the fact that the plant is to be equipped with substantial thermal storage significantly larger than that of similar trough plants. “The type of plant selected is two-tank Molten Salt, which is among the most efficient solar plants in the world operating in this class of capacity, and is the most bankable,” Immerman continued.
The large size of thermal storage will be a positive factor in supporting South Africa’s power grid, in particular in offsetting the country’s grid peak power demand which occurs in the morning and evening typifying a developing country’s demand profile.
Immerman added: “While there are minor permitting requirements that still need to be met to achieve financial close, we expect that, based on the learnings of round one, it will be relatively straightforward to obtain these.”
Economic development and corporate social responsibility
Integral to the development of renewable energy in South Africa is a commitment by all IPPs to economic development and corporate social responsibility within the country.
“The level of commitment to economic development in the second window has improved compared to window one, and more communities will benefit through employment or as shareholders in these projects,” Peters stated. “According to the RFP, bidders are required to contribute to the local community, and I am pleased to indicate that most of the preferred bidders in window two will be establishing community trusts with the sole purpose of developing the surrounding communities.”
“We have extensive commitments to Social Enterprise and Enterprise Development, as well as a strong ownership accruing to the local community and a broad based charity,” commented Immerman.
According to a report issued by ACWA Power: “In addition to direct investment and the creation of an excess of 900 jobs during construction in South Africa only, the project will also inject significant socio economic value into the rural South African economy in the vicinity of the plant. It will bring an average yearly contribution of $2m of additional investments into the community and create about 60 permanent employment opportunities during the entire operational life of the plant.”
The DoE added too that the second-window preferred bidders offered superior local content terms, with the CSP projects rising from 21% to 36.5%.
The Operation and Maintenance of the project will apparently be undertaken by NOMAC led consortium, a subsidiary of ACWA Power. The targeted Financial Close is scheduled for February 2013 while the plant Commercial Operation Date (COD) is planned for the third quarter of 2015.
The third bidding window has been announced as 1 October this year.
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