Saudi company to build R11.6 billion solar plant in the Northern Cape

Photo by American Public Power Association

A multi-billion rand Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project has been confirmed for the Northern Cape. Absa, the appointed lead arranger, senior lender and hedge provider for the project said that the 100MW R11.6 billion tower plant is being developed by ACWA Power of Saudi Arabia, and forms part of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers’ Procurement Program (REIPPPP).

According to Absa’s Resource and Project Finance Executive, Shaun Moodley, the Redstone CSP Project is one of the largest renewable energy investments in South Africa under the REIPPPP and that the plant will be built roughly 30km east of Postmasburg in the Northern Cape.

“An important feature of the Redstone CSP Project is that it will have 12 hours of full-load energy storage which will enable the CSP power plant to reliably deliver a stable electricity supply to more than 200,000 South African homes during peak demand periods, even after the sun has set,” Moodley said.

Furthermore, the project is expected to create at least 2,000 direct jobs during the construction phase, of which 400 jobs will benefit the local community. It’s projected that over 560 jobs will be created over a period of time once the power plant is fully operational, while 40% of the required equipment and materials will be procured locally.

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Construction will reportedly take up to 33 months with 100% of design capacity being achieved over a three-year period after the commercial operations date.

Concentrated solar power (CSP, also known as concentrating solar power, concentrated solar thermal) systems generate solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a receiver. Electricity is generated when the concentrated light is converted to heat (solar thermal energy), which drives a heat engine (usually a steam turbine) connected to an electrical power generator or powers a thermochemical reaction.

The Redstone CSP Project announcement comes shortly after BioTherm Energy announced the completion of its massive Golden Valley wind energy facility in the Eastern Cape. The project kicked off commercial operation on 1 May 2021 and is expected to generate over 477GWh of renewable power (every year) to supply roughly 120,000 households.

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