Sunny Northern Cape shines in renewable energy space

Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, says the Northern Cape – with its high sun exposure and wind energy potential – has the potential to be a central part of South Africa’s renewable energy complex.

Ramokgopa was speaking during an event to mark the reaching of commercial operation of the Scatec ASA-owned 540MW solar and battery energy storage facility based at Kenhardt in that province.

The project, totalling 540 MW solar and 225 MW/1 140 MWh battery storage, is one of the world’s largest hybrid solar and battery storage facilities. The project was awarded by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy under the technology agnostic Risk Mitigation IPP procurement programme (RMIPPP).

The project has a total capex of approximately US $1 billion and marks the largest commitment in Scatec’s history. The power will be sold under a 20-year PPA with Eskom. Scatec holds 51% of the equity and H1 Holdings, the local Black Economic Empowerment partner, holds 49%.

Ramokgopa said
construction of renewable energy facilities in the province should translate into ‘meaningful impact’ on long term job creation.

‘[The] jobs and the opportunities that we are creating are transitional. At the height of construction [Scatec ASA] created 2000 plus jobs and it’s the nature of this development that once it gets to be operational, the jobs numbers taper down.

‘But the people still remain here and they are still searching for opportunities so it’s important that we are able to have a new conversation and this is not about Scatec, this is about how we see the Northern Cape as a major player in the renewable energy complex,’ he said.

He further emphasised that provincial and national government is discussing how investments into the province can also have a meaningful, long term impact through localisation and the creation of industry.

‘It’s important that opportunities get to be domesticated here and part of that conversation…is to see how best we can translate the Northern Cape as the renewable
energy complex of the country and on the back of that, create new industries.

‘When you have 60% of close to R260 billion of investment sunk in this province, you have to see the difference even before you are told that it accounts for that.

‘So part of the conversation…is to ensure that you domesticate these investments [and] that the opportunities that comes about… the centre of these investments must be centred in the Northern Cape,’ he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency