Northern Cape premier Zamani Saul says work is progressing at the Redstone Concentrated Solar Power Project in Postmasburg, which is expected to bring additional power to the country’s energy network.

In his state of the province address on Thursday (24 February), Saul said the project is one of the largest capital investment projects in the Northern Cape.

“The project comprises 100 Megawatts of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). The plant will be constructed over a period of 31 months, achieving full commercial operation by the end of October 2023,” he said.

“As at the end of January 2022, the project had employed 636 direct jobs on site. Of these employees, 91% are South Africans. Further to this, 339 are from the Tsantsabane and Kgatelopele municipalities. Pleasing is the fact that more than 45% of employees are young people under the age of 35 and 15% of all employees are women in various job disciplines.

The project is expected to peak close to 1,800 employees by the end of this year, said Saul.

The project will see the construction and operation of a concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) plant in the Hay District, around 30 km from Postmasburg in the Northern Cape.

A CSP tower plant generates solar power using mirrors, known as heliostats, to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small area known as the receiver. Electricity is then generated when the concentrated light is converted to solar thermal energy.

It will be capable of producing approximately 480 gigawatt-hours (GWh) net of renewable energy annually, with a nominal net generating capacity of approximately 100 megawatts (MW).

The Project’s Sponsors are ACWA Power and SolarReserve. ACWA Power is a developer, investor, co-owner and operator of a portfolio of power generation and desalinated water production plants with operations in 12 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Southern Africa and South-East Asia regions.

Absa, which is involved in the funding and development of the project, has previously said that the Redstone CSP Project will have 12 hours of full-load energy storage.

This will enable the power plant to reliably deliver a stable electricity supply to more than 200,000 South African homes during peak demand periods, even after the sun has set.