solar thermal electric

South Africa

Engie announces the commissioning of Kathu thermodynamic solar power plant

Engie has announced the commercial start-up of a 100 MW concentrated thermodynamic solar power plant (CSP) with parabolic trough technology and molten salt storage system at Kathu in South Africa.
Engie announces the commissioning of Kathu thermodynamic solar power plant
Courtesy of Engie

The CSP plant will enable 4.5 hours of renewable energy generation in order to provide reliable electricity in the absence of solar PV energy and during periods of peak demand. The Kathu site covers approximately 4.5 square kilometres and utilises 384,000 mirrors. Kathu is the first CSP development for Engie and is covered by a 20-year power purchase agreement under the REIPPP Purchase Programme with the South African Power Utility.

“The completion of Kathu illustrates our continued commitment to environmentally responsible economic development in South Africa” said Isabelle Kocher, Managing Director of Engie. “Kathu, with its molten salt storage system, offers a clean solution for the intermittency of renewable energies. We are proud to contribute to the country's renewable energy goals, and look forward to continuing the projects initiated with local communities to make Kathu a driver of development in the region”.

Kathu will provide clean and reliable energy to 179,000 households in the local community of the John Taolo District Municipality, North Cape and South Africa as a whole. In addition, it is estimated that the Kathu Solar Park will save six million tons of CO 2 in 20 years and will promote local economic development through several projects, such as the local trust project shareholder for the benefit of communities located in Cap-Nord and the outsourcing of services to local contractors.

The KSP consortium, which is led by Engie (48.5 percent), includes a group of South African investors consisting of the SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, the Lereko Metier Sustainable Investment Fund, the co-investors FMO, the Dutch Development Bank, and DEG, the German Investment and Development Agency and the Public Investment Corporation. The main contractor (EPC) is Liciastar (Pty) Ltd, a consortium composed of the Spanish companies SENER and Acciona.

In South Africa, Engie has interests in a wind farm (Aurora, 94 MW), 2 solar PV farms (21 MW) and 2 advanced thermal power plants (Avon, 670 MW and Dedisa, 335 MW) . Engie also owns Thermaire Investments (Pty) Ltd. and Ampair (Pty) Ltd., leaders in HVAC installation and maintenance in the South African market.

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