Renewable energy hits South Africa

Published: March 27, 2013

CSP-Upington

 

Renewable Energy technologies and expertise developed in Europe are now in hot demand in developing regions like South Africa, where ideal conditions and a more liberal IPP auction system is creating a booming market – and Tractebel Engineering is part of it.

AN IDEAL MARKET

In dire need of fast, sustainable answers to meet energy shortfalls; yet blessed with vast amounts of space, wind and top rated solar power conditions, the South African Department of Energy (DoE) is welcoming Renewable Energy technology and competitively priced bids with open arms. Read more

GOING BIG ON CONCENTRATED SOLAR POWER

Rated as having the second best direct irradiation resource in the world (after Chile), South Africa is seeing massive development in Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) projects. One of these is a world first 100 MW CSP Tower PP project for national utility Eskom. Read about Eskom’s CSP project in Upington

GOOD WINDS FOR WIND POWER

With plenty of space to build large wind parks, competition for wind farm concessions is fierce amongst independent power producers, making tenders highly contested affairs that require more than good luck to win. Read more on this and the WEST COAST 1 project

REFLECTING ON CSP TECHNOLOGY

Need a quick reminder of how CSP technology works and its advantages? Read more


AN IDEAL MARKET

In dire need of fast, sustainable answers to meet energy shortfalls; yet blessed with vast amounts of space, wind and top rated solar power conditions, the South African Department of Energy (DoE) is welcoming Renewable Energy technology and competitively priced bids with open arms.

A HIGH RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET
Historically over 90% of South Africa’s electricity generation has been coal-fired and the country enjoyed very low electricity prices. But rapid growth in energy demand has seen huge price hikes and energy shortfalls leading to unpopular load shedding. While this has led to a flurry of CFPP retrofits and new builds, South Africa’s high Renewable Energy (Wind and Solar power) potential has also come under the spotlight within an Integrated Resource Plan. The current target of this plan is 10 000 MW from Renewable resources by 2030; with a more immediate target of 3 750 MW needed to stabilise supply, stimulate employment and foster a more sustainable economy and society.

AN INDEPENDENT RENEWABLE POWER DRIVE
Central to liberalizing and diversifying its power sector is the DoE’s Independent Power Producers (IPP) Procurement Program  – 5 rounds of auctions in which IPP may submit proposals for Renewable Energy projects; with bids selected on tariff and identified socio-economic development objectives.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES, NEW COUNTRY, NEW PARTNERS
Given our early involvement in all Renewable Energies, Tractebel Engineering is able to offer services across the full cycle of project development and realisation, bringing expertise in large project management too. Even so, key to ensuring we are in position to assist customers dealing with the complex requirements of the South African market, our own new strategic approach is to create 3-way partnerships: joining forces with experts specialised in the relevant technologies and a local engineering partner who know the local system etc.  Building such cost-effective, yet highly expert teams is already paying dividends for our clients – and we are surprising many with our successes.


Tractebel Engineering Upington team in ESKOM office entrance (from l. to r. : M.-L. de Laiglesia, M. Compere, M. Millan, P. Schoeling)

GOING BIG ON CONCENTRATED SOLAR POWER

Rated as having the second best direct irradiation resource in the world (after Chile), South Africa is seeing massive development in Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) projects. One of these is a world first 100 MW CSP Tower PP project for national utility ESKOM.

100 MW CSP TOWER – UPINGTON
Following strict World Bank procurement rules, this contract to provide full Engineering and project Management services to ESKOM was awarded mid 2012 to a consortium created and led by Tractebel Engineering with Astrom (Technical Advisors – Spain) and PDNA (Civil Engineers – South Africa),

The plant will be located near Upington, an area known for exceptionally high direct irradiation levels making it ideal for CSP. Its design will be consistent with CSP tower technology (using molten salt heat storage to allow continued energy generation beyond daylight hours) based on a 20 MW Spanish prototype (but 5 x bigger). The goal is to achieve a high capacity factor of at least 60%.

Source: KeepitCleanCreative Co-Produced and Edited for NREL- National Renewable Energy Laboratory

A WORLD FIRST
Technologically nothing like this has been done before at this scale (the only similar project is also under development in Nevada, USA) and the world is watching with interest! As the project is being financed by the World Bank Clean Technology Fund Africa Development Bank, the Agence Française de Dévelopement, the German KfW and the EIB, there are also a lot of powerful stakeholders to answer to.

THE VALUE OF TEAMWORK
Working within ESKOM’s offices in Johannesburg, a full-time team of 12 consortium members led by Tractebel Engineering has been dedicated to achieving the development phase, working up to the presentation of the Project Business Case and preparations needed for construction to begin in 2014. Working closely with the client, the team’s mission has extended to training – sharing CSP expertise and project development knowledge with ESKOM engineers.

Seeing their project becoming a reality is exciting for ESKOM –and the enthusiasm is contagious.”
Manuel Millan – Project Manager CSP Upington


  • Vredenbrug site
  • Vredenbrug site

West Coast 1 – photos Damien Terrie (Tractebel Engineering –P&G)

WEST COAST 1 – 94 MW WIND FARM

COMPETITION FROM THE WORD GO
Round 2 of the Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme organised by the South African DoE in November 2012 saw proposals totalling 1,2 GW presented, of which just 600 MW were successful! West Coast 1 – a 94 MW Wind Farm proposed by Moyeng Energy Group (International Power/GDF SUEZ), Investec Bank and Tiso Group), was one of these; thanks to a highly competitive bid in which Tractebel Engineering was involved as consultants, providing Moyeng Energy with key Technical Assistance in its preparation.

A DOUBLE VICTORY
Winning the concession, Moyeng Energy launched a competitive tender for the Owner’s Engineer mission, which was awarded in August 2012 to Tractebel Engineering in partnership with 2 other local companies; PDNA ( same as Upington CSP) and GIBB (electrical), based on the high value of our technical knowledge, competitive price, local presence and partnership – meeting all of Moyeng Energy’s needs.

A FULL-BLOWN MISSION
West Coast 1 is located near Vrendenburg, 100 km north of Cape Town. The wind farm, to be delivered under an EPC contract, will consist of 47 x 2 MW turbines, a 33 kV connection network and a 33/132 kV substation. As Owner’s Engineer, the team will be reviewing the designs of all elements; the turbines, all electrical and civil works, including foundations, access roads and the substation. Defining tender specifications and providing design review, procurement, site supervision and commissioning support to ensure build and performance is achieved in due time and within budget are part of the scope. Construction is expected to begin early 2013 with full operation by early 2015.

P.S. Outside of this contract, Tractebel Engineering continues to assist Moyeng Energy with bid preparations for other wind projects in anticipation of the next auction round in August 2013.


REFLECTING ON CSP TECHNOLOGY

Tractebel Engineering can advise its clients on a choice of 3 CSP technologies:

Tower – A tower facing a circular field of 2-axis flat mirror heliostats angled to reflect the sun rays onto a single, fixed receiver point at the top the tower. As all rays focus on one point, intense heat (± 1000°C) is achieved – ideal for Direct Steam Generation (DSG) or molten salt HTF and thermal storage. Theoretically, a tower 200 m high can generate 220 MW, but with increased height, tower stability and precision focus and efficiency of peripheral mirrors on larger heliostat fields is reduced. To date the largest CSP tower plant under development is 100 MW (in Upington – South Africa)

Parabolic Trough – Long lengths of trough-like curved mirror heliostats that bounce the sun rays up onto a central, mobile raised tube (receiver) containing a Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF- oil, molten salt, water/steam). The mirrors tilt on 1- axis, tracking the sun, ensuring direct ray exposure all day. The temperature of the HTF (and so steam) is limited to 400°C. The installed commercial capacity can reach 400 MWe.

Fresnel – Similar to a parabolic trough, but using long, individual flat mirror heliostat strips that tilt to reflect the sun rays onto an overhead, fixed receiver tube (HTF water/steam). Efficiency of heat transfer from flat mirror is marginally less than curved mirror, but the flat mirror strips cost less to install, maintain and manage.

CDM SERVICE S.A.

Tractebel Engineering has completed CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) services on Red Cap Kouga Wind Farm (80 MW) in South Africa for Red Cap Kouga Wind Development. The project has been submitted to the United Nations for registration as a project that will result in significant reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – over 2, 500 000 t of CO2 over 10 years – and give long-term benefits to the mitigation of climate change. CDM/JI consultancy is offered as a service within Tractebel Engineering’s Power & Gas.

LOCAL OFFICE

Tractebel Engineering opened offices in Johannesburg in 2012 to be closer to its customers in South Africa and facilitate joint ventures with local partners under South African law.

More information

  • Robert Berdal
  • Maxime Palante
  • Manuel Millan
  • Damien Terrie

 

Robert Berdal, Product Director Renewable Energy
Maxime Palante, Sales Manager Renewable Energy
Manuel Millan, CSP Upington Project Manager
Damien Terrie, WEST COAST 1 Project Manager

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