The Department of Energy (DoE) expects to issue new requests for proposals (RFPs) next week to source a team of consultants for the feasibility study of the planned 5 GW solar park in the Northern Cape.
The DoE withdrew three RFPs for the appointment of a feasibility study consultant, an environment assessment practitioner and a geotechnical engineering consultant, after moving the proposed project to the SiyaThemba region, Central Energy Fund (CEF) acting procurement manager Nomusa Buthelezi told Engineering News Online on Tuesday.
The DoE, which was managing and overseeing the project, appointed the CEF to lead the process.
The initial site, near Upington, encountered a number of land-related challenges and the project was shifted to avoid further delays, she said.
CEF signed a memorandum of understanding with the SiyaThemba local municipality, which incorporates the towns of Prieska, Marydale and Niekerkshoop, allowing the firm to reissue the tenders to source the consultants required for the feasibility study.
The feasibility study, which was given the nod after a positive prefeasibility study was completed in 2010, aimed to examine the viability of the R150-billion solar park project.
The prefeasibility results indicated that the conditions in Northern Cape were ideal for the proposed solar park project and several potential sites were identified in the Northern Cape, including two sites near Upington and two near Groblershoop, as well as Prieska and De Aar.
If proved viable, the project would produce its first solar power in 2016/17.
Buthelezi commented that the bidders for the first RFPs would be reimbursed, but would need to reapply for the new tender.