South Africa on track for more solar power

25 May 2015

Enel Green Power (EGP) has begun construction of Pulida solar power plant in Free State. Its closest town is Kimberley, just on the other side of the border with Northern Cape.

The facility will have a total installed capacity of 82.5 megawatts (MW) and, once fully operational, it will be able to generate more than 150 gigawatt hours per year, according to the Italian company. This is equivalent to the annual consumption needs of about 48 000 households. It will also avoid the emission of more than 138 000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.

EGP was awarded the supply contract in October 2013 as part of the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). Energy generated by Pulida will be sold to Eskom through the 20-year power supply agreement that EGP was awarded in October 2013 as part of the REIPPPP.

In addition to Pulida, EGP was awarded the right to build the Gibson Bay (111MW) and Nojoli (88MW) wind farms, as well as the Aurora (82.5MW), Paleisheweul (82.5MW) and Tom Burke (66MW) solar power projects, in the same tender. The company, which already owns and manages the 10MW Upington solar facility, was also recently awarded a further 425MW of wind power projects in the fourth phase of the REIPPPP.

Enel Green Power, part of Italy’s Enel Group, is dedicated to the international development and management of renewable energy sources. It has operations in Europe, the Americas and Africa, with a generation capacity equal to approximately 32 billion kilowatt hours in 2014 from water, sun, wind and Earth’s heat – enough to meet the energy needs of more than 11 million households. It has an installed capacity of more than 9 800MW from a mix of sources including wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal and biomass in about 740 plants in 15 countries.

News portal Greentechlead reported that the company expected to grow its installed capacity in South Africa to 5 000MW in five years.

Chief executive Francesco Starace told Reuters: “For us, Africa is the next Latin America.” The company was making a balanced investment in renewable energy assets in South Africa retaining 60:40 ratio of wind and solar projects.

In South Africa, Enel now operates 10MW and is building 990MW, which will come online in the next two years.

SAinfo reporter