As part of round four of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP), Sappi and Scatec Solar have each made great strides towards producing renewable energy.
South Africa ha
s an immense potential for renewable power despite the current energy crisis. The Minister of Energy, Dikobe Ben Martins, has determined that 3 725 MW generated from renewable energy sources is required to ensure the continued uninterrupted supply of electricity.
Ngodwana Energy Biomass Project
A pulp and paper solutions company has announced that its 25 MW Ngodwana Energy Biomass Project in Mpumalanga has won a power-purchase agreement in round four of the REIPPP programme.
The project, situated on the Sappi Ngodwana Mill Site, will feed electricity into the national grid near its plant within Elands Valley, between Emgwenya and Mbombela.
Commenting on the REIPPP win, Alex Thiel, CEO, said: “Sappi will continue to focus on extracting maximum value from the renewable and sustainable wood fibre that we grow. This project builds on our earlier R3 billion investment at Ngodwana Mill.”
The paper company has driven international projects including five hydroelectric projects, two gas and 31 steam turbine projects, which generate an estimated 800 MW of power on across 14 sites in seven different countries.
Benefits of biomass fuel
Biomass power has a high-load factor (base load) in the region of 200 000 MwH per annum. Other benefits include the value chain creating higher employment on an operational level, the forestry industry is not as affected by seasonality and climatic conditions in contrast with annual crop supply chains, and unlike coal, the forestry industry can reinvest in raw material supply by replanting trees for future use as an energy source.
A Norwegian solar power producer has been awarded preferred bidder status for the development of three solar plants with a total capacity of 258 MW, alsounder the fourth round of REIPPP.
Scatec Solar CEO Raymond Carlsen said the three solar power plants will be built on adjacent sites and combined “will represent one of the largest solar parks ever realised.”
The solar plants will be situated in Upington, in the Northern Cape, and project financing is expected to reach financial close in Q3 or Q4 of 2015 with construction to start in Q1 2017 to synchronise with the schedule of required grid construction activities in the area.
Carlsen said: “We are very impressed by the great determination by the South African government to use large scale renewables to strengthen power supply in the country. With this award, the people of South Africa will access more clean, reliable and cost competitive electricity for many years to come.”