Eskom embarks on US $1.2B Renewable Energy Investment Project for South Africa

Source: African Development Bank Group 

In responding to the growing electricity demand within South Africa, the need for diversifying South African electricity public utility Eskom's energy mix, as well as meeting the country's targets for renewable energy, Eskom embarked upon a research program to investigate South Africa's sources of renewable energy, and identify appropriate alternative solutions to meet the electricity needs of the country. 

Through this research, Eskom proposes the first ever commercial scale Concentrated Solar Power plant in sub-Saharan Africa and the first utility-scale wind power plant in South Africa under the Eskom Renewable Energy Investment Project (EREIP). 

The project is estimated to cost over US $1.2 billion, of which African Development Bank Group (AfDB) would contribute up to US $260 million and co-finance with Clean Technology Fund (CTF) resources of US $100 million. Other financiers include the World Bank, European Investment Bank, Agence française de développement and the German government-owned development bank (KfW). It is expected that the project would lead to a pipeline of similar projects undertaken by Eskom and independent power producers (IPPs) throughout sub-region. 

Component 1 of the project, the Sere Wind Power Project will consist in the first phase, a 100 MW wind farm comprising forty to fifty 2.0 to 2.5 MW wind turbines to be located approximately 300 km north of Cape Town near the town of Skaapvlei. The area has the potential to accommodate up to 200 MW of wind capacity. Cumulative emissions savings from Phase 1 of the Western Cape Wind Energy Facility, based on an annual output of 271 GWh, would be 5 million tons of CO2 over the 20-year life of the plant. 

Component 2 of the project, the Upington Concentrating Solar Power Project is currently designed using a tower and mirror system configured to operate as a base load unit. Utilizing molten salt as a thermal circulating fluid and storage medium would allow the plant to achieve a 60-65 percent annual load factor with a rated capacity of 100 MW. The estimated cumulative emissions savings resulting from a projected annual energy production of 516 GWh is 9 million tons of CO2 over a projected 20-year plant life. 

The Clean Technology Fund 

The Clean Technology Fund (CTF) is a multi-donor trust fund created in 2008 as one of two Climate Investment Funds (CIF) to provide scaled up financing for demonstration, deployment and transfer of low carbon technologies that have significant potential for long-term greenhouse gas emissions savings. CTF resources are approximately USD 5 billion pledged by Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States. 

CTF will support 15–20 country/regional investment plans that meet the criteria of significant greenhouse gas emissions savings, demonstration potential at scale, and development impact.

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