Engie acquires stake in South Africa’s 100MW CSP project

Xina One CSP
Xina One Concentrated-Solar Plant. Image credit: Engie

Engie has acquired Abengoa’s indirect stake in Xina Solar One which means they now hold a 40% equity stake in a 100MW concentrated solar power plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.

Following completion of the transaction, Engie now also holds 46% of the Xina Operations & Maintenance Company.

The Xina Solar One plant provides about 400GWh of clean, sustainable, dispatchable electrical energy to 95,000 South African households and prevents around 348,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

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The plant uses parabolic trough technology to generate renewable, dispatchable solar energy. It features a thermal energy storage system that uses molten salts to store the necessary energy for a further 5 ½ hours supply. This specifically assists in meeting the South Africa peak demand.

Xina Solar One started commercial operation in Pofadder, Northern Cape, in August 2017 and is one of the country’s first solar thermal power plants designed with thermal storage. This allows the plant to operate during the country’s peak hours when there is a higher demand for electrical energy.

The other shareholders on Xina Solar One include the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Xina Community trust which is funded by the IDC.

This acquisition brings Engie’s total installed capacity in South Africa to 1,320MW. Mohamed Hoosen, ENGIE MD: Renewables for Asia, Middle East and Africa: “The acquisition of Xina Solar One supports our 2045 net zero carbon ambitions by contributing to a global target of 50GW of installed renewable capacity by 2025 and 80GW by 2030.”

Engie also has interests in the 100MW Kathu Concentrated Solar Power plant; 94MW Aurora wind farm, two solar PV plants equalling 21MW and two thermal power peaking plants (670MW Avon and 335MW Dedisa).

Desnei Leaf-Camp, Xina Solar One CEO, said: “Through this acquisition, Engie is pleased to reinforce its commitment to be a reliable, responsible and ethical long-term investor in South Africa’s electricity supply industry. The partnership with Abengoa will deepen our ability to expand local skills and expertise in solar thermal generation.”

Originally published by Theresa Smith on esi-africa.com

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