ACWA Power eyes South Africa’s CSP project

CSP GlassPointSolar WCSaudi Arabia-based ACWA Power aims to close financing for South Africa’s 100MW Redstone concentrated solar power (CSP) thermal plant in July 2016

The firm has already been awarded two build contracts – The US$600mn 300MW Khanyisa coal-fired power plant in Mpumalanga province, and the US$1bn 125MW Solis 1 thermal solar plant in Northern Cape province.

For developers, such as ACWA Power, the South African government’s plans to improve power supply, although there are also challenges due to the currency, according to chief executive Paddy Padmanathan.

These include increased construction costs as materials are brought in from abroad, being paid for the electricity produced in rand, and the potential future risks over being able to freely convert rand into dollars.

However, with power plants being long-term investments and the continuing availability of funding from local banks to back projects, Padmanathan remains optimistic on South Africa.

ACWA Power is also interested in a gas-fired power plant-building programme, which Padmanathan expects to be announced later this year.

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