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EDF Renewables building 1.2 GW of power generation capacity

EDF Renewables has earmarked the Northern Cape as a key region in its South African strategy, where it is at the forefront of constructing nearly 1.2 GW of low carbon power generation capacity.This includes 763 MW of wind power, 355 MW of solar PV, and 75 MW of battery storage, underscoring the Province’s pivotal role in the country’s renewable energy landscape.

This initiative by EDF Renewables is part of a new build programme that spans eight sites across the Northern and Eastern Cape provinces.

The two provinces are home to several key projects that reached financial close between November 2022 and February 2024. These projects are poised to significantly contribute to alleviating South Africa’s power shortage.

The projects are:

* The Koruson 1 cluster, which straddles the border of the Northern and Easter Cape provinces, near the town of Middelburg.

This cluster encompasses three wind farms – Phezukomoya, San Kraal, and Coleskop. Each of these farms boasts an installed capacity of 140 MW, culminating in a total output of 420MW.

The development of this project is being spearheaded by a consortium under the leadership of EDF Renewables. They are joined in this endeavor by local BEE partners, H1 Holdings, GIBB-Crede, and a local community trust. This initiative forms part of the fifth round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme.

The Koruson 1 cluster is on track to reach its commercial operations date (COD) in December 2024, marking a significant milestone in the region’s renewable energy journey.

* The Koruson 2 cluster of projects, which is also located on the border of the Northern and Eastern Cape provinces and includes the Umsobomvu wind project (140 MW), the Hartebeesthoek wind project (140 MW) and the Mooi Plaats solar project (240 MW).

The cluster is being developed in partnership with Anglo American, under their joint venture Envusa Energy, and will have a total electricity generation capacity of 520 MW. The project also includes a 20% equity investment from Pele Green Energy (Pty) Ltd, alongside a local community trust.

All Koruson 2 projects are set to reach commercial operation during 2026.

* The Umoyilanga hybrid power project, which is a joint venture between EDF Renewables and the private investment firm Perpetua Holdings (Pty) Ltd and is a part of the South African government’s Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP).

This groundbreaking project amalgamates solar, wind and battery storage technologies to provide dependable and dispatchable power to the national grid.

Functioning as a virtual power plant, the project harnesses power generation from two distinct sites located 900km apart. The Avondale site in the Northern Cape contributes 115 MW of solar PV and 30 MW of battery storage, while the Dassiesridge site in the Eastern Cape adds 63 MW of wind and 45 MW of battery storage.

These projects represent a total investment of R34 billion and construction is progressing rapidly, with commercial operations dates planned between the end of 2024 and 2026.

Once operational, these power plants will significantly reduce the energy deficit by providing close to 4TWh of low carbon electricity to the national grid per annum. In South Africa, the total energy shortage reached 14.4TWh in 2023, as indicated by Eskom.

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.

The EDF Renewables projects are not just about energy; they’re also about people.

They’re creating a significant number of jobs and fostering small business opportunities through entrepreneurial programmes and the use of local resources. Approximately 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 socio-economic development initiatives for nearby local communities.

The CEO of EDF Renewables in South Africa, Tristan de Drouas, has expressed pride in these projects, stating that they are “good news” for the country .

“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 constructions will have a visible impact on the current power shortage, which is a very good news for the country, and a source of pride for the teams,” said De Drouas.

“They are a tangible illustration of the capabilities of the EDF Group to deliver low-carbon energy solutions in South Africa.”

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