Finnish power solutions group Wärtsilä, which oversees the operation of some 16 GW of generating capacity across 500 marine and land installations globally, has concluded its first operations and maintenance agreement in South Africa.
The Helsinki-listed group has signed an agreement with Sasol New Energy, a unit of the JSE-listed energy and chemicals group, for the 140 MW gas engine power plant being built for R1.8-billion at the Sasolburg complex in the Free State.
The plant would reportedly be powered by 18 Wärtsilä generating sets running on natural gas imported from Mozambique, and is scheduled to start producing electricity towards the end of 2012.
The facility is reportedly the largest power plant running exclusively on gas engines in Africa and the power will be used to increase Sasol’s energy independence and reduce its carbon footprint. The facility would reportedly lower Sasol’s carbon dioxide emissions by about one-million tons a year.
Sasol was also considering the possibility of replicating the gas-engine project in Mozambique, where a feasibility investigation was under way into a 140 MW development near Ressano Garcia.
The project, should it be pursued, was likely to be a joint venture between Sasol and State-owned utility Electricidade de Moçambique. The output would be consumed within the borders of the fast-growing Southern African country.