5 years ago

Northern Cape Business 2017-18 edition

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  • Solar
  • Upington
Northern Cape Business 2017/18 is the seventh edition of this highly successful publication that has, since its launch in 2009, established itself as the premier business and investment guide to the Northern Cape Province. Officially supported and utilised by the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Northern Cape Business is unique as a business and investment guide that focuses exclusively on the Northern Cape.


SPECIAL FEATURE windows. In the early bidding rounds, Mainstream’s three Northern Cape wind projects amounted to 360MW (Loeriesfontein and Khobab in the Namakwa District Municipality, also 140MW, and Noupoort wind farm, 80MW). Another 140MW project at Kangnas (Springbok) has subsequently been given the green light. Chinese power producer China Longyuan Power Group is developing two wind farms near De Aar. Solar The Northern Cape is the natural home for the generation of solar power. Long-term annual direct normal irradiance (DNI) at Upington is 2 816kWh/ m 2 , according to a survey done for Stellenbosch University by Slovakian company GeoModal Solar. CSP Today reports a national average that is among the best in the world. Stellenbosch University’s Solar Thermal Energy Research Group has six sites monitoring irradiation levels. The small towns of Postmastburg and Groblershoop lie between Upington and Kimberley. They are modest settlements which have ticked along for many years in support of surrounding farmers with some diamond mining and wine cultivation along the way. They are now the centre of some of the world’s most advanced technological innovation in concentrated solar power (CSP). Saudi Arabian electricity group ACWA Power has won approval for the 100MW Redstone project near Postmastburg and the 50MW Bokpoort CSP plant near Groblershoop has been running since the first quarter of 2016. The Bokpoort site covers an area of about 6 700ha, of which its facilities cover a total area of about 250ha. The facility could serve the equivalent of about 21 000 households and offset 230 000 t/y of carbon emissions. The Redstone project is exceptional because of the unique method called Molten Salt Thermal Energy Storage. A dry cooling method also decreases the amount of water used to support the plant. Redstone expects to spend R150-million annually on salaries and other expenses for 30 years. More than 40% of the total project value will be provided by South African suppliers. R2.4-billion of equity investment has been pledged, with a further R5.6-billion of debt being sourced locally and internationally. ACWA’s technology partner in Redstone is the American company SolarReserve which holds the CSP tower proprietary rights and is invested in two other (photovoltaic) projects near Postmastburg: Jasper (75MW) and Lesedi (75MW). It has a similar project in the Free State province. SolarReserve is also active in Chile. ACWA wants to develop 5 000MW of renewable energy and conventional power in Southern Africa. This includes bidding for a coal project in Mpumalanga and involvement in South Africa’s natural-gas-to=power programme. The biggest solar farm so far in South Africa was launched in March 2016 when Solar Capital presented its 175MW farm at De Aar. Formerly famous as the railway junction that combined the country’s two rail systems, De Aar is becoming better known as a renewable energy hub. About 200 jobs were created in the construction phase of this R4.8-billion project and 100 people are NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017/18 18

SPECIAL FEATURE now employed in running the plant. Solar Capital, which is a subsidiary of the Phelan Energy Group, intends spending on Internet connections, arts training and building a community training centre in De Aar. In the first round of submissions, Mainstream South Africa put in bids for 100MW of solar power: both projects came in on time and on budget in 2014: Droogfontein and De Aar Solar Energy. The company has built 170 000 solar panels on the land owned by the Droogfontein Community Property Association, which has taken a 4% stake in the energy company. Mainstream SA is a joint venture between Mainstream Renewable Power (Ireland) and Genesis Eco-Energy (SA), and it has also established a consortium that includes Absa Capital, Thebe Investment Corporation and Siemens Energy Southern Africa, which it hopes will play a role in turning South Africa into a renewable energy hub. The 86MW Mulilo-Sonnedix-Prieska photovoltaic (PV) solar plant project, situated 50km south-west of Prieska in the Northern Cape, was built by Sonnedix with a minority partner in local renewable energy developer Mulilo. More than 500 jobs were created during the building phase. The 125ha solar PV project achieved commercial operation in July 2016. Construction took 17 months. The main contractor on the project was juwi Renewable Energies, the South African subsidiary of the large German company, the juwi Group. BioTherm Energy is another renewable energy company that has used juwi’s construction skills on several of their projects in the province. BioTherm has developed solar projects near Kenhardt and Pofadder. Gulf power company Engie (formally known as GDF SUEZ) is a major investor in the 100MW Kathu Solar Park project, a CSP project which is also backed by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Investec Bank and the Sishen Iron Ore Company Community Development Trust. Engie is listed on the stock exchanges of Paris and Brussels. Norwegian company Scatec Solar is involved in the design of a 75MW scheme being built at Kalkbult. In the Namakwa District lies the small town of Pofadder. Like Timbuktu, the name “Pofadder” is used to represent somewhere very remote, far away and out of the mainstream. Pofadder had the distinction of being the chosen site of the first CSP plant in South Africa, named KaXu Solar One. The region’s KaXu Solar One will be a catalyst for economic development role in the Khai Ma Municipality. A 50MW CSP plant (Khi Solar One) at Upington connected to the grid in January 2016. Another innovative CSP project, Xina Solar One, also by Spanish company Abengoa, achieved commercial operation in the first quarter of 2016. Xina Solar One is a 100MW parabolic trough plant that uses molten salts to store energy for night time or times when the sun is not shining. This is Abengoa’s third plant, and its fellow investors are the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Khi Community Trust. The same technology (parabolic trough CSP) is being used by Emvelo and Cobra at the Ilanga plant about 30km east of Upington. In 2015 the Public Investment Corporation became a 20% investor in the Xina and Ilanga solar plants. 19 NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017/18

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