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Two more risk mitigation hybrid projects take steps toward financial close

The Umoyilanga Energy project team at a ceremony to sign the Power Purchase Agreement with Eskom, and the Implementation Agreement with the DMRE

31st August 2023

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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Two more preferred bidders selected as part of the much-delayed Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP), which was launched as an emergency procurement round in 2020, have signed project agreements signalling legal close and have until December to reach financial close.

The projects, which have a combined investment value of R14.6-billion, are the 128 MW Oya Energy Hybrid Facility, proposed for development in Matjiesfontein, which straddles the Northern and Western Cape provinces, and the 75 MW Umoyilanga Energy, across two sites at Avondale in the Northern Cape, and Dassiesridge in the Eastern Cape.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) said in a statement that the Oya project would be developed by G7 Renewable Energies, ENGIE, Meadows Oya Energy and Perpetua RMI4P, while the Umoyilanga project was being developed by EDF Renewables and Perpetua Holdings.

Both are hybrid renewable projects that include a combination of solar photovoltaic (PV), onshore wind and battery storage technologies that will meet the programme’s production profile of being able to dispatch electricity between 5:00 in the morning and 21:30 at night.

Should the projects progress to financial close, they will join three Scatec projects, which are the only RMIPPPP projects to have entered construction to date. The Scatec projects involve 540 MW of solar PV, coupled with lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of 225 MW/1 140 MWh to produce 150 MW of dispatchable electricity.

Despite the delays, the programme has remained active and Karpowership, which secured 1 200 MW of the RMIPPPP's 2 000 MW allocation across three projects, has expressed optimism that its projects could also close soon.

However, Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa insists that South Africa is unwilling to enter a power purchase agreement with the floating gas-to-power generators for more than five years. But he has not yet indicated how government intends shortening the 20-year period extended to the hybrid projects for the powerships.

In a statement released after the signing ceremony, presided over by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, the DMRE said the two hybrid facilities were expected to begin generating from 2025 onwards.

In its own statement, EDF Renewables indicated that financial close on Umoyilanga is expected to be achieved by the second half of October, with construction starting immediately thereafter so as to achieve commercial operations in May 2025.

The project, EDF Renewables added, would operate as a virtual power plant, combining generation from two sites which are 900 km apart. Avondale, in the Northern Cape, will include 115 MW of solar PV and 30 MW of battery storage, while Dassiesridge, in the Eastern Cape, will incorporate 63 MW of wind and 45 MW of battery storage.

To meet its 75 MW dispatchable profile, Dassiesridge will charge batteries from the wind energy at night and discharge power in the morning until the sun rises. The solar installation at Avondale will supply the bulk of the energy during the day, supplemented by wind energy from Dassiesridge. Excess solar energy will be used to charge the batteries at Avondale, which will discharge after sunset.

“This brings the total number of projects that have signed agreements under the RMIPPPP to five out of the 11 preferred bidders appointed, which will add a total of 353 MW of dispatchable capacity to the national grid.

“The first three RMIPPPP projects that signed agreements in June 2022 are currently in construction, and are set to reach commercial operation in November 2023,” the department said in a statement, referring to the Scatec projects.

The department said the two additional projects would create 3 966 job-year opportunities during construction and operation and would contribute over R610-million over their 20-year lifetime to skills, supplier, enterprise and socioeconomic development initiatives.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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