The African Development Bank has approved a senior loan of R3 billion to the 100MW Redstone concentrated solar power project, which is expected to boost South Africa’s energy mix and hasten transition to renewable energy.
Located in the Humansrus Solar Park, Northern Cape Province, the solar power project is expected to generate 466 GWh/year.
This will offset diesel-fueled Open Cycle Gas Turbine’s (OCGT’s) operating at peak demand, thereby avoiding and mitigating CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels.
Commenting on the project, President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina said: “There is no other country – that has made bold efforts at promoting solar power – apart from South Africa and Morocco. Of the countries currently using coal, South Africa is one of the few with an aggressive strategy towards developing a solar-based power.”
He added: “At the heart of this transition to a low-carbon energy sector is a complete transformation of the future energy mix.”
Solar-based power projects
The project is one of 27 renewable energy Independent Power Producer projects under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer.
Once commissioned, it is expected to create over 3,500 jobs over the project life cycle.
The project will also fulfil South Africa’s social development requirements on citizens employed, Black Economic Empowerment, procurement from small and medium-scale enterprises, local content, and shareholding by local communities.
“The development of this concentrated solar power project will provide green baseload energy and contribute to a further diversification of South Africa’s energy mix, which is fundamental to South Africa’s strategic vision of transitioning to green growth”, said Amadou Hott, the Bank’s Vice-President for power, energy, climate, and green growth.
The project comprises a 12-hour molten salt thermal energy storage system, which will enable the project to meet peak electricity demand in the absence of sun, and allow for dispatchability to adapt generation to electricity demand.
The project will also involve the construction of a new 132 kV switching station, and a 34 km long single circuit 132 kV transmission line.