The South African Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded preferred bidder status to a consortium led by SolarReserve and ACWA Power for a 100 MW CSP project.
The proposed Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) project, known as the Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project, will be developed in response to the DOE’s Round 3 (CSP) Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). It has the lowest tariff bid to date from any CSP project in the country and is scheduled for financial closure later in 2015, with a view to commencing operations in early 2018.
The CSP plant 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, these three projects will constitute the world's first combined CSP and PV solar park with a total of 271 MW of generating capacity.
The Redstone Project will be the first of its kind in Africa and features SolarReserve’s molten salt energy storage technology in a tower configuration. It will have the capability to support South African energy demand when it is needed most – day and night – and will have 12 hours of full-load energy storage in order to deliver a stable electricity supply to more than 200,000 South African homes during peak demand periods. The project will create more than 800 direct jobs during the construction phase and will also create significant additional jobs related to equipment supply, manufacturing, engineering, transportation and other services.
No backup fuel will be required and dry cooling of the power generation cycle will be built into the plant as an important element in order to minimise water use. The technology for the project is based on SolarReserve’s successful Crescent Dunes project in the US which is now complete and 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.”
Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of ACWA Power added that, together with ACWA Power’s 50 MW Bokpoort CSP project, also in South Africa, and the Noor1, 160MW solar thermal power plant at Ouarzzate in Morocco, the Redstone Project has successfully extended the company’s success in solar energy on the African continent.