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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Large-scale solar projects to provide emergency power within 18 months

The three power stations will provide 150 MW in total, as well as 4 970 job opportunities during construction and operation phases.

Renewable energy developer Scatec has been given the go-ahead to start constructing three hybrid solar and storage projects in South Africa.

The projects are expected to provide emergency power to the country, as it continues to battle chronic load shedding implemented by Megawatt Park.

The three Scatec projects, Kenhardt 1, 2 and 3, with a total capacity of 150MW, signed all project agreements on 2 June 2022, and had 60 days within which to conclude financial close.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa promises ‘measures’ to end load shedding are coming soon

In a statement, the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy says following the fulfilment of all conditions, Scatec has reached a financial close on just over R16 billion financing required for the construction and development of the three combined Solar PV and Battery Storage projects in the Northern Cape.

“Once completed, the three power stations will be the first dispatchable renewable energy projects in South Africa. Eskom is the designated Buyer for the capacity, energy and ancillary to be created by these projects.”  

“The projects will be available for dispatch by the System Operator between 5h00 and 21h30,” the department said.

The department says the project’s construction is expected to take no more than 18 months to reach commercial operation.

“In support of the current economic challenges that South Africa is facing, the three projects, which are 49% South African-owned, have committed to 40% local content during construction and operation phases.”

“In addition, the projects will create around 4 970 job opportunities for RSA citizens (measured in job years) during construction and operation phases,” it said.

The projects are part of the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP), which was launched in August 2020 to bring about 2 000MW of emergency generation capacity.

However, the programme has been riddled with delays, and the financial close deadline has been pushed back a few times.

ALSO READ: Load shedding should stop by the end of next week, says De Ruyter

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