Power project developer Red Rocket has announced the start of commercial operations at the 4 MW Kruisvallei hydropower plant, along the Ash river between Clarens and Bethlehem, in the Free State.
The completion of the plant comes almost two years since construction began on March 26, 2019.
Kruisvallei was the third hydropower project to be procured under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme and was awarded under Bid Window 4.
Uniquely, the plant is split into two run-of-river hydropower plants that combine to supply 4 MW of hydroelectric power through two turbines that will generate about 24 GWh/y.
The Ash river flows vary from about 15 m3/s to 40 m3/s depending on the release schedule from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
It is estimated that about one-billion cubic metres of water will flow through each turbine every year.
Red Rocket undertook the engineering, procurement and construction of the plant, while Red Rocket Asset Management will be responsible for operations and management.
This is the first project within Red Rocket’s greater portfolio which was undertaken using the group’s fully-integrated business model.
Red Rocket will therefore participate in the full lifecycle of the project from development, design and construction to operation and maintenance.
“Building and operating a project of this nature closes the first of many circles for us as a fully-integrated IPP and we celebrate the completion of Kruisvallei, as an example of our capabilities and what we can bring to the market in the future,” says CEO Matteo Brambilla.
The total project investment was about R370-million, of which R235-million was provided by a specialised debt fund called Facility for Investments in Renewable Small Transactions, which was established to provide simple, accessible and efficient funding for renewable energy projects in South Africa.
H1 Holdings, which participates as a 46.5% shareholder through the project company, namely Zevobuzz, also sees a growth in its portfolio through the completion of this project; making the project an authentic vehicle for empowerment through the power sector in South Africa.