The first molten salt concentrated solar power tower will be built in South Africa after the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded preferred bidder status to the 100 MW project proposed by US' SolarReserve and Saudi ACWA.
The project, filed under the Round 3 Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), offered the lowest tariff bid to date from any CSP project in the country. It is scheduled to achieve financial close later in 2015 and commence operations in early 2018.
The Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project features SolarReserve's molten salt energy storage technology in a tower configuration with the capability to support South Africa's demand for energy when it's needed most - day and night.
The 100 MW CSP plant will have 12 hours of full-load energy storage, enabling it to reliably deliver a stable electricity supply to more than 200,000 South African homes during peak demand periods, even well after the sun has set.
The plant will be completely solar, with no back up fuel required abd dry cooling system of the power generation cycle as an important element to minimize water use. The project technology will be based on SolarReserve's successful Crescent Dunes project in the US, which is complete with construction and currently in final commissioning.
"The Redstone project marks an important technology advancement for South Africa in solar power," said SolarReserve's CEO Kevin Smith. "Due to the fully integrated thermal energy storage, the plant will provide dispatchable power on-demand, just like conventional coal, oil, nuclear or natural gas-fired power plants, but without the harmful emissions or hazardous materials and without any fuel cost. In addition, the project's delivered electricity price is the lowest of any Concentrating Solar Power project in the country to date." Smith added, "We appreciate the support of the South African Government and look forward to working with our partner ACWA Power and the communities where the project is located to help South Africa meet its renewable energy targets, stimulate long-term economic development and create new jobs."
"This Redstone Solar Project together with our 50 MW Bokpoort CSP project in South Africa and the Noor1, 160 MW solar thermal power plant at Ouarzzate in Morocco, extends ACWA Power's success in solar energy on the African continent. The Redstone Solar Project is another successful bid where we challenged ourselves to deliver the lowest tariff to date in the REIPPP programme for electricity generated wholly with solar power but dispatchable reliably both at day and night; again demonstrating ACWA Power's commitment to reliably deliver electricity at the lowest possible cost. All aspects of the project, from development phase to construction and then operations, have been structured to ensure maximization of value retention in not just only the South African economy, but also within the local economy of Northern Cape Province recognizing the intrinsic value in co-developing local people along with this asset which will co-exist with the local community for decades to come," said Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of ACWA Power.
The Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project will be located in Postmasburg, near Kimberley in the Northern Cape Province, adjacent to the 75 MW Lesedi and 96 MW Jasper photovoltaic (PV) solar power projects successfully developed by SolarReserve and its investment partners. Together, the three projects comprise the world's first combined CSP and PV solar park with a total of 271 MW of generating capacity. Under the REIPPPP process, the projects ensure robust local participation and technology transfer, and are structured to exceed the minimum REIPPPP requirements for BBBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) equality on job creation, local content, ownership, management, procurement, and enterprise development. All of the projects, as mandated under the REIPPPP, set aside a percentage of total project revenues for enterprise and socioeconomic development which will be invested for the benefit of local communities.
The Redstone project will create more than 800 direct jobs during the construction phase comprised of craft workers on site and will also create significant additional jobs related to equipment supply, manufacturing, engineering, transportation and other services. Over 40% of the total project value will be provided by South African suppliers – a portion of which will support BBBEE activities. South African companies will provide investment in the project of at least R2.4 billion and the tax revenue forecast contribution for the Redstone project is estimated to be in excess of R6 billion in income tax over the first 20 years of operation. In addition, during the more than 30-year operating life, the project will expend over R150 million per year in salaries and other operating costs, including land, insurance, and maintenance activities.
"SolarReserve and ACWA Power have further advanced solar thermal projects in development in South Africa under the progressive REIPPPP," said Alistair Jessop, SolarReserve's Senior Vice President of Development. "We look forward to continuing our partnership here as well as in growing markets such as the Middle East."
Rajit Nanda, Chief Investment Officer, ACWA Power, said: "ACWA Power is also particularly pleased to yet again lead in the field of project financing by structuring this innovative tower technology based solar power project with SolarReserve based on a project finance arrangement. The Redstone Project marks another significant milestone in ACWA Power's target of adding renewable energy capacity to its multi-fuel portfolio of assets capable of generating 15.5 gigawatts of electricity and producing 2.4 million cubic meters of desalinated water."