ACWA Power plans to bid in South Africa’s next green electricity auction.
Interest from the Saudi-based company, which has made South Africa’s largest renewable energy investment, in the fifth bid window is a positive sign for the nation that’s had lengthy delays in a process to procure green power generation. South Africa is also struggling to meet electricity demand with a fleet of poorly maintained coal stations, leading to outages that have curbed economic activity.
The next auction, to procure 1,600 megawatts of wind power and 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity, is expected to reach financial close by March 2022 and connect to the grid by April 2024, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said Wednesday.
“Our intention is to participate in this round, and we look forward to being part of future developments,” Rajit Nanda, chief portfolio management officer for ACWA, said in response to questions.
Construction on the 100-megawatt Redstone concentrated solar plant started earlier this month, following financial close of the 11.6 billion rand ($845 million) investment. The project was held up for years after state-owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. refused to sign the power-purchase agreement in 2016, saying at the time that it was expensive and not needed.
ACWA has proposed various projects in South Africa, from a coal-fired plant to a solar and battery project. The company said it takes a “technology-neutral” approach “that address customer requirements at low costs.”