Sener (www.group.sener), global engineering and technology group, together with its engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partners, Emvelo and Cobra, announces that the Ilanga-1 concentrated solar power (CSP) plant has been completed.
The EPC partners reached the certificate to initiate commercial operation of the turnkey solar thermal power plant project located at Karoshoek Solar Valley on 30 November 2018. This means the conclusion of construction, commissioning and testing of the 100-MWe CSP plant. The plant has been handed over to the owner, Karoshoek Solar One (RF) Proprietary Ltd. The plant will supply electricity to the national grid through Eskom, the South African electricity public utility.
“This is a historic moment in South Africa’s energy transition as another renewable energy powerplant that supplies clean, reliable, sustainable and dispatchable energy is successfully completed. We are particularly pleased that it was completed on time, within budget, within the required quality standards, in line with the contracted output performance and within acceptable safety standards. We are also pleased with the level of localization, BBBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment), skills development and job creation that was achieved on the project. It is a clear indication of what is possible if the CSP industry can be nurtured and allowed to flourish in South Africa. Sener is proud of being a technology provider, engineering subcontractor and member of the EPC contractor on such a special project.” says Siyabonga Mbanjwa, regional managing director for Sener Southern Africa.
“Ilanga 1 will provide on-demand power to South Africans for the next 20 years, in the same manner as conventional power generation projects. It has no fuel costs nor harmful emissions and has created employment for many people in the area of Upington. Ilanga 1 is an important step in South Africa’s energy future, procuring on-demand power from an efficient and accountable source with no resource risk and a controlled tariff. We as Grupo Cobra look forward to the continued growth of the local energy sector and will continue to provide world class development, construction and operations services to the South African market” says Jose Minguillon, CEO of Cobra South Africa.
“This is the first CSP plant in the history of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program (REIPPPP) that was conceived and developed by a 100% black owned South African entity. This demonstrates that Black Industrialists can lead in the development and execution of large renewable energy infrastructure projects. With a 550MWe pipeline of projects that are shovel ready at Karoshoek Solar Valley, the potential to localize, create jobs and provide business opportunities to new youth and women led SMMEs is colossal and what is required is for government to ensure that CSP remains a part of its energy mix policy and is included in the Draft IRP” says Pancho Ndebele, founder of Emvelo.
The joint venture between Sener, Cobra and Emvelo was appointed by Karoshoek Solar One (RF) Proprietary Limited to provide engineering, procurement and construction services as well as operation and maintenance for the project. The Ilanga-1 CSP plant, made up of 266 SENERtrough loops, with approximately 870,000 m2 of curved mirrors, is equipped with a molten-salt storage system (SENER proprietary technology) that allows 5 hours of thermal energy storage to extend the operational capacity of the plant to continue producing electricity in absence of solar radiation. This is a unique characteristic of CSP that radically changes the role of renewable sources in the global power supply. SENERtrough collectors, a parabolic trough technology, are also specifically designed and patented by Sener, aimed at improving the efficiency of the plant.
In line with government’s four accords, emanating from the New Growth Path (NGP); namely basic education, skills development, local procurement and the green economy, approximately 1,500 jobs were created during the construction phase. Recently, a technical training course for 50 prospective employees at the plant, located in Karoshoek almost 30km east of Upington, were completed and further local socio-economic development was done by the EPC consortium, in the nearby communities located a stones throw away from the plant. It is estimated that Ilanga-1 will supply clean and dispatchable energy to around 100,000 homes and save 90,000 tons of CO2 per year over a period of 20 years.