ACWA Power to develop 100MW solar project in South Africa

ACWA SAACWA Power signs agreement with Central Energy Fund SA. (Image source: ACWA Power)The Central Energy Fund of South Africa and Saudi-based ACWA Power have signed a cooperation agreement to develop a 100MW Redstone concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plant in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province

The agreement was signed on the occasion of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state visit to Saudi Arabia.

The construction of the CSP plant is expected to start later this year and feature solar energy storage technology to generate electricity, event at the night, cumulatively dispatching 480,000MW hours per year.

According to ACWA Power, the CSP plant will use a central salt receiver technology with 12 hours of thermal storage allowing the plant to generate during the evening peak demand periods. In addition, while photovoltaics (PV) or wind cannot serve the evening peak unless then linked with utility-scale batteries which are extremely expensive, the CSP central tower solution will, in comparison, generate cost competitively more than double the MW hours output of electrical energy per the rated MW capacity.

Mohammad Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power, commented, “As efficient means of meeting rising energy demand is crucial for enabling economic growth, we will continue to explore opportunities to increase production capacity and keep challenging costs to help the country meet its requirements.”

This project is set to contribute towards empowering South Africa’s population and support socio-economic development by creating jobs to the local people.

Paddy Padmanathan, CEO of ACWA Power, added, “With capital and operating cost of CSP plants with molten salt storage solution reducing at the same time as demand for cost-competitive renewable energy increases in South Africa, our Redstone CSP plant will be able to deliver stable cost-competitive electricity supply to more than 210,000 South African homes during peak demand periods which are during the night.”

“CSP technology will allow power generation well after sunset and does not require back up fuel. Recognising the scarcity of water, the plant we will install will utilise the dry cooling option thus minimising water use, which also makes it one of the most appealing renewable energy options available in the world,” Padmanathan further stressed.

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