EDF Renewables, partners building 1.2 GW of low-carbon power capacity

26th April 2024 By: Darren Parker - Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

EDF Renewables, partners building 1.2 GW of low-carbon power capacity

EDF Renewables is currently leading the construction of almost 1.2 GW of low-carbon power generation capacity in South Africa, comprising 763 MW of wind power, 355 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) and 75 MW of battery storage.

This new build programme comprises eight sites across the Northern and Eastern Cape, developed by EDF Renewables and its partners.

Several projects reached financial close between November 2022 and February this year and will soon contribute towards alleviating South Africa’s power shortage.

The first is the Koruson 1 cluster of three wind farms – Phezukomoya, San Kraal and Coleskop – which is being rolled out in partnership with H1 Holdings, GIBB-Crede and a local community trust, with a total installed capacity of 420 MW.

The second project is the Koruson 2 cluster, which is being delivered in partnership with Anglo American under its Envusa Energy joint venture (JV). This project comprises the Umsobomvu, Mooi Plaats and Hartebeesthoek wind and solar farms for a total electricity generation capacity of 520 MW.

The project will include the incorporation of a 20% equity investment by Pele Green Energy alongside a local community trust.

Thirdly, the Umoyilanga hybrid power plant is being carried out in partnership with Perpetua Holdings. Umoyilanga is an innovative virtual power plant that will deliver 75 MW of dispatchable power, combining 115 MW of solar PV, 63 MW of wind power and 75 MW of battery storage spread across two sites – Dassiesridge and Avondale, which are 900 km apart.

The total investment across these projects is R34-billion.

Construction works at these project sites are now progressing rapidly towards commissioning, with the respective commercial operation dates planned for between the end of this year and 2026.

Combined, these power plants will provide nearly 4 TWh of low-carbon electricity to the national grid each year. In South Africa, the total energy shortage reached 14.4 TWh in 2023, as indicated by Eskom, which means these projects could make up about 28% of the shortfall.

While less than 1 GW of utility-scale generation projects have been commissioned in the country since 2020, this new capacity shows that the deployment of renewable power is now accelerating rapidly, EDF Renewables says.

The company says these projects are creating jobs, while small business opportunities are being encouraged through entrepreneurial programmes and use of local resources wherever possible.

As such, about 40% of the projects’ value will comprise South African goods and services, and about 1% of revenue generated by the projects over their contractual period will be applied to socioeconomic development initiatives for nearby local communities.

“Our projects under construction will contribute towards meeting the energy needs of South Africans, both through government programmes and through private channels for Anglo American mines via our joint trader Envusa Energy.

“These [projects] will have a visible impact on the current power shortage, which is very good news for the country, and a source of pride for the teams,” EDF Renewables South Africa CEO Tristan de Drouas says.