Global energy and services group Engie recently announced that at end January 2019 it had achieved commercial operation for the 100 MW Kathu Solar Park in South Africa. This state-of-the-art plant is a greenfield concentrated solar power (CSP) project using parabolic trough technology and equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows for 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage. This provides for reliable electricity in the absence of solar radiation and during peak demand.
The 100 MW Kathu concentrated solar power plant is now operational in the Northern Cape.
As a 100 MW project Kathu Solar Park is one of South Africa’s largest renewable energy projects.
The Kathu site covers approximately 4.5 km², with 384 000 mirrors. Kathu is the first CSP development for Engie.
The solar park was given the go-ahead under Round 3.5 of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP), the competitive tender process that was launched to facilitate private sector investment in renewable energy generation. Pursuant to the REIPPP procurement programme, Kathu Solar Park signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the off-taker/buyer.
Isabelle Kocher, CEO of Engie, says: “The completion of Kathu shows our continued commitment to economic and environmentally friendly development in South Africa. Kathu, with its molten salt storage design, offers a clean solution to overcome the intermittency of renewable energies. We are proud to contribute to the country's renewable energy goals and look forward to continuing the projects initiated with local communities, making Kathu a genuine driver of regional economic development.”
Kathu will provide clean and reliable energy to 179 000 homes in the local John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, the Northern Cape and South Africa as a whole. In addition, it is estimated that Kathu Solar Park will save six million tons of CO2 over 20 years. It is also set to foster further local economic development through several projects, such as the trust established for the benefit of the communities in the Northern Cape and sourcing of services from local entrepreneurs.
The KSP shareholders, which are led by Engie (48,5 %), include a group of South African investors comprising SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund and its co-investors: FMO, the Dutch development bank and DEG, the German investment and development company, and the Public Investment Corporation. The main contractor (EPC) is Liciastar– a Spanish consortium of SENER and Acciona working with the Kelebogile Trust.
In South Africa, Engie has interests in a wind farm (94 MW, Aurora), two solar photovoltaic parks (21 MW) and two thermal power peaking plants (670 MW, Avon and 335 MW, Dedisa). Engie also owns Thermaire Investments (Pty) Ltd. and Ampair (Pty) Ltd., leaders in the HVAC installation and maintenance sector in the South African market.
Enquiries: visit www.Engie-Africa.com