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News & Updates

ACWA Power Consortium’s Northern Cape thermal storage project is world’s largest

ACWA Power International (“ACWA Power”)  hosted the official Ground Breaking Ceremony today  to  commence  construction  of  the  Bokpoort  Concentrated  Solar  Park  (CSP) Independent Power Project (IPP) located in Groblershoop, Northern Cape.  This  is  the  first energy  project  in  South  Africa  for  ACWA  Power,  a  Saudi-based  operator  of  power  and desalinated water plants, and is set to add 50 MWe of clean energy to the national grid. Forming part of South Africa’s  Renewable  Energy  IPP  procurement  program  (REIPP), the Bokpoort  CSP Project is being equipped with the largest thermal storage ever adopted for  a solar power plant of this class and capacity  in the world. The plant thermal storage capacity will be 9.3 hours enabling it to yield a record-high generation in excess of 200 GWh/year well into  the  night  every  day  throughout  the  year.  This  makes  CSP  the  only  renewable technology at commercial scale to cover  the country's  daily peak demand from 5 to 9 PM thereby helping to prevent power black outs. Mohammed Bin Abdullah Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA  Power, stated in his address at the ground breaking ceremony,  “It was only  three  years ago that ACWA  Power  decided to expand our operations outside of our Saudi Arabian home market. ACWA  Power  targeted four countries which we believe are the most promising; Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and  of  course  South  Africa.  We  have  already  started  work  on  three  major  projects which represent a total of 800 MW in the pipeline and an investment commitment of R4.5 Billion to date.  Over the  next five  years  we  aim  to  establish  a multi  fuel  portfolio (coal,  gas,  hydro, solar and wind) and deliver 4000MW over these four countries.”

Bokpoort  CSP  IPP  was  the  only  CSP  technology  project  and  one  of  only  19  renewable energy  projects selected by the Department of Energy of South Africa from among 79 bids submitted for the second window of the country's REIPP. In  addition  to  wealth  creation  within  South  Africa  and  the  local  community  via  the  direct investments  in  the  project  company,  the  participation  in  construction,  operation  and maintenance  by  South  African  companies  with  previously  disadvantaged  community participation; it will also lead to the creation of 900 jobs in South Africa during the peak of the construction period.  The Bokpoort  CSP  IPP  will also inject significant socio-economic value into  the  rural  South  African  economy  in  the  vicinity  of  the  power  facility,  which  is  to  be located in one of the  most under developed  areas of the country,  by bringing an average yearly  contribution  of  US$2  million  of  additional  investments  and  creating  about  60
permanent employment opportunities during the operational life of the power facility.”

Paddy Padmanathan, President & CEO of ACWA Power added “As ACWA Power is also not just  a  financial  investor  but  a  service  provider  of  such  basic  utilities  as  electricity  and desalinated water, entering a new market means establishing the foundation for a long-term relationship with the country as a whole and the local community we serve.  We therefore place a great deal of emphasis on socio-economic sustainability of the nations we serve and have facilitated maximum levels of South African participation in the entire project.”

“In addition to a 5% community shareholding, which far exceeds the Government's minimum 2.5% requirement, for whom the equity funding was provided by PIC; ACWA Power as an investor  in  this  project  has  taken  the  unusual  step  of  providing  funds  to  Lereko  Solafrica
Investments (Pty) Limited, owned by previously disadvantaged citizens to hold 13% shares in the project on the same terms as is usually provided by South African government owned development finance institutions. We are also proud of the fact that in addition to the local community shareholding, particular focus on this project will be on youth development and HIV/AIDS awareness through Lovelife, a national NGO."

“Instead of waiting  about  two  more years until the plant is operational before we implement the  community  development  projects  outlined  in  the  programme,  ACWA  Power  has  taken the  initiative  to  provide  upfront  funding  of  R5  million,  and  to  start  immediate  rollout  of activities so that the community can see the benefits of such a development from the earliest stages of the project,” commented Abunayyan. “It  is  our  responsibility  to  develop  a  talent  pipeline  for  our  future  workforce,  and  ACWA Power  has  undertaken  to  bring  the  local  education  levels  up  to  the  highest  standard.  In addition  to  offering  internships  and  bursaries  to  the  youth  who  show  an  active  interest, ACWA  Power  will also be providing new computers to the Groblershoop High School and will support the establishment of a training Centre.”“It is equally vital to ensure the communities who share a neighbourhood with the CSP Plant have  their  own  access  to  an efficient  power  and  water  supply.  Over  the  next  two  years ACWA Power will install over 500 solar lights in the Duineveldt  and other communities, and this  commitment  will  grow  as  we  further  engage  with  the  community  and  ascertain  their needs as the project develops.”

Whilst  South  Africa  relies  heavily  on  coal  to  meet  its  energy  needs,  the  country  is  wellendowed with renewable energy resources that offer sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. With  the  CSP  technology  to  be  used,  the  Bokpoort  CSP  IPP  will  provide  electricity  to
approximately 21  000 households and save approximately 230  000 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions during every year of operation. The technology used in this project will also be a contributor to offsetting South Africa's grid peak power demand period in particular due to its unique size of thermal storage.


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