South Africa opens 50MW Bokpoort CSP plant

A consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power today officially opened South Africa’s 5bn rand ($325m) Bokpoort concentrating solar power (CSP) project.

The 50MW plant in the Northern Cape is a joint venture between South Africa and Saudi Arabia, developed as part of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

It was officially inaugurated by South Africa’s trade and industry minister, Rob Davies, and Saudi Arabia’s commerce and trade minister, Tawfig Fawzan Alrabiah.

ACWA Power leads a consortium of local investors comprising the Public Investment Corporation of South Africa, Lereko Solafrica Investment, Lereko Metier Solafrica Fund 1, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund, Kurisani Solafrica Investments and Solafrica Community Investment Company.

The consortium signed a power-purchase agreement to supply South African utility Eskom in 2013.

Bokpoort - built by a joint venture between Spain’s Sener, Acciona and TSK, together with South Africa’s Crowie Projects - incorporates a molten-salt facility that will provide more than nine hours of thermal energy storage.

ACWA chairman Mohammad Abunayyan says the project has strengthened economic ties between the South Africa and Saudi Arabia, and laid the foundation for further investment.

Bokpoort is the first in a series of projects being undertaken by ACWA in South Africa. Construction is expected to begin soon on the 100MW Redstone CSP plant, in the Northern Cape, while the company is also waiting to hear the result of its tender submission for another 150MW CSP project in the province.

Renewable energy in South Africa has attracted 193bn rand in private investment since 2012. The 92 projects selected so far under the REIPPPP total 6.32GW.