SENER and ACCIONA, long established companies with a strong presence in Africa, together with Kathu Solar Park RF PTY LTD, have won the Sustainable Renewable Energy Project (10MW+) Award for Kathu Solar Park project at the 2019 African Utility Week Industry Awards held in Cape Town on Wednesday, 15 May 2019.

The sixth edition of the Industry Awards brought together Africa’s most renowned power and water industry professionals that witnessed how these three companies won the award.

«It is a great honour to be recognised with this award at this year’s Industry Awards «, said Siyabonga Mbanjwa, SENER Southern Africa Regional Managing Director. “At Kathu Solar Park, the principle that has governed the entire project is that of sustainability in all areas: economic, social and environmental. This solar thermal power plant provides clean and reliable energy preventing the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere, while the project has also promoted local employment while strengthening the region’s business sector. It has been an exemplary project executed with excellence, reassuring this Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant as an efficient solution in the renewable energy sector for its technological, economic, social and cultural legacy in the Northern Cape.”

Ramón Jiménez, Managing Director for the Industrial business line of ACCIONA, said: “This award is a recognition of the great work that has been done by the whole project team on Kathu Solar Park. This CSP plant is an iconic project for the Northern Cape region as it provides efficient and clean energy, helping the country to diversify its energy mix in a sustainable manner. ACCIONA has a strong performance record on renewable energy projects, with highly experienced teams and local community engagement, guaranteeing the sustainability of its projects in economic, social and environmental areas.”

Kathu Solar Park is a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Independent Power Producer project currently on commercial operation that was officially inaugurated in the Northern Cape Region, in South Africa, last April 2019. Cutting-edge energy generation and storage technology is pumping 100MW into the national grid and providing clean and reliable energy to 179,000 households in the Northern Cape. Thanks to this dispatchable supply, the plant will prevent the emission of six million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere over the next 20 years.

Kathu Solar Park was one of the projects awarded – on December 15th, 2014 – during bid window 3.5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) by the South African Department of Energy (DoE). The joint venture between SENER and ACCIONA –led by this last company- was appointed by the consortium Kathu Solar Park (led by ENGIE and including a group of South African investors comprising SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund, its co-investors FMO, the Dutch development bank and DEG, the German investment and development company and the Public Investment Corporation) to provide the engineering, procurement and construction services for the project.

During construction, the main focus has been to ensure that Kathu Solar Park, through the EPC consortium SENER and ACCIONA, was able to make a positive and enduring difference through innovation and technology, with high efficiency and performance to deliver energy to the South African grid particularly during the evening peak. To achieve this, Kathu Solar Park uses the SENERtrough®-2 parabolic trough technology equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows for 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage to provide reliable electricity in the absence of solar radiation, after sunset and with cloudy weather.

Besides, SENER and ACCIONA, together with Kathu Solar Park RF PTY LTD, have dedicated a global investment in social initiatives which have borne fruit over the past three years in the communities surrounding Kathu, improving education levels in the community and boosting small and medium-sized businesses in the region. The results of these initiatives include the creation of more than 5,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs during the construction phase of Kathu.

In addition to this, Kathu Solar Park has set up a Social Economic Development (SED) programme, investing 530,000 € on 27 initiatives during the construction phase; and will allocate 1 % of the revenue during the operation phase for education, health care, social welfare projects in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district, with the aim to further foster more local and rural progress.

On this regard, Concentrated Solar Power, as a viable alternative to traditional baseload sources of energy, has a demonstrated alignment with South Africa’s national agenda of achieving inclusive growth that includes job-creating, manufacturing, construction and rural development.