South African developer Renewable Energy Holdings Ltd. has begun commercial operations of its 4.5-MW Stortemelk hydropower plant.
The US$14.3 million project, located on the Ash River, uses the outflow from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which, in addition to providing significant storage, includes the 72-Muela hydropower plant and proposed 1,200-MW Kobong pumped-storage project.
Stortemelk's civil works were performed by Eigenbau Pty Ltd., with Aurecon South Africa Pty Ltd. serving as contractor, and Andritz Hydro and Indar Electrical SL providing equipment. Work on the project took 18 months to complete, during which time 50 people were employed.
The small hydro plant was recognized by the South Africa's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (REIPP) Procurement Programme and will be operated by REH Operations & Maintenance Pty Ltd.
The project was financed by Renewable Energy Holdings, Mertech Group and an independent economic development group, making Stortemelk one of the few independent power plants under the REIPP that is completely South African owned.
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