TOTALEnergies says it is launching the construction of a major hybrid renewables project in South Africa, and its partners. The project comprises a 216 MW solar plant and a 500 MWh battery storage system to manage the intermittency of solar production.
“Located in the Northern Cape province, the site will supply dispatchable renewable electricity to the South African national grid for twenty years, equivalent to over 400 GWh per year. Under the terms of a Power Purchase Agreement signed in November 2023, and thanks to the storage system, the project will supply 75 MW of dispatchable power to the national utility Eskom on a continuous basis from 5 a.m. to 9.30 p.m., i.e., for longer than the available sunshine”, the French oil giant says in a statement.
Major oil companies have spent billions of dollars investing in renewable energy in Europe, Asia and the United States, but have delivered little in this sector in Africa. Meanwhile, Shell TOTAL and ENI have cashed out, through divestment from oil and gas acreages, over $12Billion (gross) from the continent in the last 12 years.
In that context (of low investment in renewables), a 216MW solar/battery plant in South Africa is big deal.
“The project is being developed by a consortium of TOTALEnergies (35%), Hydra Storage Holding (35%) and a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) partner, Reatile Renewables (30%). It has achieved financial close on December 14, 2023 and is expected to be operational in 2025, as part of the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme launched by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to develop electricity generation capacity and alleviate the country’s electricity supply constraints.
“Together with our partners, we are pleased to launch this major solar power generation and storage project in South Africa. Thanks to its innovative hybrid design, it will enable us to supply continuous green electricity over a longer period and beyond the hours of sunshine. This project will not only contribute to the country’s energy transition, but also to strengthening the resilience of its power system,” said Vincent Stoquart, Senior Vice President, Renewables at TOTALEnergies.
- Hydro Storage Holding (HSH) is developer owned by former Mulilo shareholders
- Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) is a programme launched in 2003 by the South African government to remedy the inequalities of apartheid. It is a certificate issued to companies that work towards greater economic integration of the black community, and in return gives them a better chance of winning government contracts.