Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power plan to invest $2.3 billion in renewable and conventional energy project in south Africa over the next five years, the company announced on Monday when it opened a solar plant it finance in the country.
Mohammad Abunayyan, ACWA Power Chairman, said his company was not concerned about South Africa’s economic situation that could see it downgraded to junk by mid0-year by major credit agencies.
“But ACWA power is looking towards the future. We are committed to South Africa. Our total project pipeline exceeds R35bn,” BDlive quoted Abunayyan saying.
The Saudi-based company invested 5 billion rand ($328 million) in the Bokpoort concentrated solar energy plant, located in Groblershoop near Upington in the Northern Cape, in 2013, which according to BDlive has one of the highest thermal energy storage in the world.
South Africa’s Northern Cape, which registered temperatures as high as 45 degrees Celsius, is one of the top three locations on the world with the highest solar capacity.
The Bokpoort plant will provide 1,300 megawatts per hour that will be able to power 200,000 homes, Reuters reported.
The solar project is the biggest investment so far by the Kindgom of Saudi Arabia in South Africa, according to the country’s Trade and Commerce Minister Tawfiq Fawzan Alrabiah.
This will help South Africa, which has been plagued by chronic power shortages in recent months due to aging power plant and distribution grid, meet some of its energy needs.
ACWA expects to commence construction on another 100 MW Redstone concentrated solar power project in Northern Cape later this year and is awaiting the outcome of tender submissions for a 300 MW coal-fired plant in Mpumalanga province in eastern South Africa, Construction Week reported.
About 1,300 temporary jobs will be created during the construction of these two plants.
“We are presently working on finalizing (capital raising),” ACWA Power managing director for Southern Africa, Chris Ehlers, told BDlive.