State-owned power utility Eskom and the European Investment Bank (EIB), have agreed a new €75 million (US$ 100.4 million) finance contract to support Eskom’s 100 MW Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant close to Upington in the Northern Cape, South Africa.
In October 2013 Eskom and France-based development finance institution Agence Française de Développement (AFD) agreed to facilitate the signing of a €100-million credit facility agreement for the project.
The 100 MW project uses a number of innovative technologies to concentrate the sun’s energy through large mirrors and utilises the concentrated thermal energy to produce steam to drive a conventional steam turbine for electricity generation. CSP technology is similar to conventional power plants in that steam is used to power a turbine and generator, but the fossil fuel combustion is replaced with free, non-polluting solar energy. The CSP project is expected to deliver a yearly energy production of 525 GWh and will be sufficient to power 200 000 homes.
Ayanda Nakedi, Eskom’s Senior General Manager for Renewables stated:
Eskom is committed to investing in projects that will diversify our energy mix, including renewable resources. The potential to deploy CSP technologies on a large scale is promising, and we are pleased to have taken another step forward in funding our Upington solar plant with this loan agreement.
Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President, commented:
Energy is essential for economic activity and investment in new renewable energy generation capacity can harness South Africa’s natural resources. The European Investment Bank is pleased to work with Eskom to support the CSP plant that will act as a model for similar schemes elsewhere and looks forward to continued engagement in South Africa under a new mandate agreed earlier this year.
This project is being co-financed with the African Development Bank, Agence Française de Développement, Clean Technology Fund (CTF), KfW and the World Bank.
The European Investment Bank has also provided a total of €220 million for the neighbouring Ka Xu CSP plant. The last part of this support to be provided through DBSA was agreed in June this year.