Two hybrid renewable energy projects in South Africa set to provide a combined 203 MW of dispatchable power have achieved “legal close” by signing agreements with local power utility Eskom and the government, it was announced this week.
Selected under South Africa’s Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP) in 2021, the Oya Energy Hybrid Facility and the Umoyilanga Energy project have a contracted capacity of 128 MW and 75 MW, respectively.
On Wednesday, they signed 20-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Eskom and implementation agreements with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE). This allows the projects to move towards achieving financial close.
Umoyilanga is a project of EDF Renewables and investment company Perpetua Holdings (Pty) Ltd. It will operate as a virtual power plant (VPP) combining two sites that are situated 900 km (559 miles) apart — Avondale in the Northern Cape, with 115 MW of solar and 30 MW of battery storage, and Dassiesridge in the Eastern Cape, with 63 MW of wind and 45 MW of battery storage. The project will ultimately be able to provide 75 MW on demand from 0500 to 2130 local time and thus show that renewable energy can supply reliable power at a competitive price, EDF Renewables said in a statement.
Financial close on Umoyilanga is expected by the second half of October 2023, and commercial operations in May 2025.
After the PPA signature, the renewables arm of France’s EDF also signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with China Energy Engineering Corporation for the 115-MW Avondale photovoltaic (PV) plant.
Oya Energy, in turn, is developed by G7 Renewable Energies and Engie, together with empowerment partners Meadows Energy and Perpetua. It will pair 86.4 MW of wind energy and 155 MW of PV with a 94-MW/-242MWh lithium-iron-phosphate battery storage system on a single site located between the towns of Ceres and Sutherland.
The DMRE said that five projects out of 11 preferred bidders have now signed agreements under the RMIPPPP, which will bring a total of 353 MW of dispatchable capacity to the grid.
Eight projects were selected in March 2021 and a further three in June of the same year.