February 7 (Renewables Now) - The 100-MW Kathu concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Northern Cape, South Africa started commercial operation on January 30, French utility Engie (EPA:ENGI), which holds a 48.5% stake in the project, said Wednesday.
The park will operate under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), secured as part of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP). It uses parabolic trough technology -- total of 384,000 mirrors -- and is equipped with a molten salt storage system allowing for 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage.
Spanish companies Sener Group and Acciona SA (BME:ANA) were in charge of the CSP plant’s construction and equipment supply. Grid synchronisation was achieved in November.
Kathu will be able to produce enough power to supply 179,000 homes, offsetting six million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over 20 years. Engie’s partners in the project, its first CSP park, include SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund and Public Investment Corp.