R5 Billion Solar Plant Opens in Northern Cape

Pretoria – The R5 billion Bokpoort concentrated solar plant (CSP) has officially been launched in Groblershoop, Northern Cape.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies welcomed the major investment by ACWA Power, a Saudi Arabian company.

“[The] project instils confidence in government’s long term infrastructure roll out, providing energy access, contributing to economic, community and sustainable development,” he said at the launch of the plant on Monday.

Minister Davies was joined at the launch by Saudi Arabian Trade and Commerce Minister, Dr Tawfiq Al Rabiah, who is also in South Africa for the 7th session of the South Africa-Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission (JEC).

The 50 MW Bokpoort plant forms part of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Program (REIPPP).

“This project marks a key milestone in South Africa’s electricity supply security and CO2 reduction. With its record 9.3 hours thermal energy storage capacity, the Bokpoort CSP project will provide electricity to approximately 21 000 households during the day as well as night time and save approximately 230 000 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions during every year of operation,” said Minister Davies.

Within five years, the REIPPP has attracted R194 billion of investment and is fast becoming a global model and blue print for other countries, providing policy certainty and transparency.

The Minister said the project has a major socio-economic development impact for the Northern Cape and South Africa. Over R2.4 billion was spent on local content, with 40% of the Bokpoort plant being sourced and manufactured locally. This includes the manufacturing and assembly of solar field collector steel structures and the supply of piping and cables.

During construction peak time, more than 1 200 people worked on site, while 70 permanent jobs have been created to operate and maintain the plant. The plant was constructed over 30 months.

“The operation of the plant will provide electricity to the Eskom grid to power communities and industry by ensuring a reliable source of renewable energy and increasing power supply.”

The Minister thanked the chairperson of ACWA Power, Mohamed Abunayyan, for his confidence to invest in South Africa.

ACWA Power aims to expand its Southern African portfolio to 5 000 MW by 2025. The group has identified South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana as key growth markets in the region.

“To our visitors from Saudi Arabia, South Africa is indeed open for business. Investors enjoy robust protection in South Africa, comparable to the highest international standard,” said Minister Davies.

- SAnews.gov.za