ACCIONA enters South Africa - ACCIONA

ACCIONA enters South Africa

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Date: 18/09/2012

ACCIONA is expanding its field of operations by acquiring a foothold in South Africa. The Company is to construct and run its own wind farm and photovoltaic generating plant in the country - and build a solar thermal/CSP station for third parties there.

ACCIONA Energy has reached an important milestone in its international expansion strategy by being selected by the South African Energy Department for two renewable energy projects it submitted in the second round of an international tender for renewable energy development in the country - the Independent Power Producers Renewable Bid (IPP REBID).

The 135 MW wind farm and 74MW (nominal capacity, 94MWp) photovoltaic generating plant will become reality in 2013 and 2014, the first renewable electricity installations the Company will own on the African continent.

The projects are being developed by a company in which ACCIONA Energy has a majority (51%) stake, with a further 29% being held by local partner Aveng, a leading infrastructure group in Africa, 10% by Soul City Broad-Based Empowerment Company (SCBBEC), a subsidiary of Soul City Institute, an organization dedicated to the promotion of health and social change, and the remaining 10% in each project corresponding to local community trusts.

The IPP REBID tender plans to award a total of 3,725MW of new clean energy projects by the end of 2013. This is part of a longer-term strategy to see some 18,000MW of new renewable capacity installed in the country before 2030.

ACCIONA is to install a 135 MW wind farm between 2013 and 2014

South Africa plans huge renewable energy development

Breakdown electricity generationSouth Africa is forecast to experience an increase in electricity consumption of 170% over the next 20 years. Its infrastructure is insufficient to measure up to the growing challenges the country faces. The energy model is based heavily on fossil fuels and its CO2 emissions ratio per inhabitant is high.

Coal generation represented almost 75% of its electricity production in 2010, with smaller contributions from gas, nuclear energy and large hydroelectric plants. The contribution from new renewable energies was null.

This scenario persuaded the South African Government to approve its 'Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity 2010-2030', an ambitious plan stipulating that renewable production (wind, photovoltaic and solar thermal/CSP) will account for one third of new electricity generating capacity installed in the country over the next 20 years. Under the plan, over 18,000MW (18GW) of the 56GW of new capacity foreseen by the plan will be renewable, which will come to represent 21% of total electricity generation capacity in the country in 2030 (26% if that produced by hydroelectric plants is included).

According to the same estimates, the percentage of electricity demand provided by coal will fall by 29%, the nuclear energy contribution will rise by 7% and that by natural gas will also grow slightly.

ACCIONA is to operate its own photovoltaic plant, double the size of its present largest

Wind farm in the south east

eolicaThe wind farm selected in the tender, named Gouda, will have an output of 135MW and is to be installed in the locality of the same name in the municipality of Drakenstein in Western Cape Province, in the south-east of the country. The wind farm will be built using a number of 3MW ACCIONA Windpower turbine generators, with 100m-diameter rotors set on 100m-high concrete towers.

The installation work will begin in March 2013 and is scheduled to end in Spring 2014. The power produced will be sold to the South African electricity company Eskom under a 20-year contract. With this installation, ACCIONA will have, in 2014, wind farms operating in 16 countries on five continents, in:

  • Europe (with installations in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Poland, Greece, Hungary and Croatia, this last one under construction);
  • America (with farms in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica - the latter an installation to be commissioned in 2013);
  • Asia (present in India and South Korea);
  • Oceania (with installations in Australia), and;
  • Africa (with this farm in South Africa).

PV solar plant near the Kalahari

ACCIONA is to install a 135 MW wind farm between 2013 and 2014

The photovoltaic plant awarded to the Company in the tender is named Sishen and will have a 74MW nominal capacity (94MWp in terms of maximum output the installation can generate). It will be located in the municipality of Dibeng, Northern Cape Province, in the vicinity of the Kalahari Desert.

Sishen consists of an installation twice the size of the biggest so far constructed by ACCIONA worldwide, which is the plant at Amareleja in Portugal, of 45.8MWp of capacity.

It will be equipped with crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules on horizontal axis trackers. The works to build the plant will begin in March 2012 and are scheduled to end halfway through 2014.

ACCIONA Energy has great experience in building, operating and maintaining photovoltaic plants:

  • In 2002, it connected to the grid the then largest photovoltaic plant installed in Spain at Tudela in Navarre;
  • In the following years, it built a large number of huertas solares (literally, 'solar gardens') for clients in Spain, totaling 69MWp in capacity, and;
  • In 2008 and 2009, it built the Amareleja site, one of the largest solar tracking plants in the world.

The Sishen power station will allow ACCIONA to consolidate its broad experience building and operating photovoltaic plants.

Building a solar thermal/CSP plant

ACCIONA is to operate its own photovoltaic plant, double the size of its present largest

The third project involving ACCIONA in South Africa, selected via the same tender, is that of the Bokpoort 50MW solar thermal/CSP power station, led by the Saudi company ACWA Power.

The Infrastructure Division of the group, together with the Spanish companies TSK and Sener, and the South African Crowie, make up the consortium that was named Preferred Bidder for the construction and commissioning of the station in the form of an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor.

ACWA Power has South African partners for the development of the project, including Solafrica and the public institution IDC. Work is planned to start in the last quarter of this year.

The solar thermal plant at Bokpoort will be situated near the city of Upington in Northern Cape Province in the vicinity of the Kalahari Desert. The technology used will be of parabolic cylinder collectors provided by Senertrough, with a molten salt energy storage system that allows the generation of electricity in the absence of sunlight. The technology base for the plant's solar capture will be 100% Spanish.

The experience of the EPC construction consortium - both in solar thermal plants and electricity generation installations at international level in general - will guarantee the success of the project.

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