South African developer begins construction on Stortemelk small hydropower plant

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Hydroelectric power developer NuPlanet Project Development Pty. Ltd. has reached financial close and begun construction of the 4.5-MW Stortemelk plant on the Ash River near Clarens, South Africa.

The small hydropower plant was awarded "preferred bidder" status under the South Africa government's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (REIPP) program and is planned for commissioning mid-2016.

The US$18 million project is being funded with finance debt from Rand Merchant Bank, while equity financing was provided by Renewable Energy Holdings, the Mertech Group and an independent broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEEE) entity.

"Not only is Stortemelk one of the few REOPP projects that is wholly South African owned, but our partners, the Mertech Group, is one of the largest philanthropic investors in South Africa," NuPlanet managing director Anton-Louis Olivier said. "Combining that with the BBBEEE ownership and an additional shareholding by a local Clarens-based charity results in a business which is plowing back the majority of its returns to poor communities across South Africa."

Contracts have been awarded to Indar Electrical SL and Andritz Hydro GmbH for the plant's turbine, generator and switchgear; to Aurecon South Africa Pty. Ltd. for engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services; and to Eigenbau Pty. Ltd. for civil works construction. TMC Operations and Maintenance Pty. Ltd. will provide operation and maintenance. reported in January 2007 that NuPlanet and its partners had begun construction of two small hydropower plants near Bethlehem, South Africa.

For more small hydropower news, visit here.

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