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African Development Bank bolsters South's clean energy transition

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

The African Development Bank (ADB) has approved a ZAR 3 billion (US$220 million) loan to help realise South Africa’s Redstone Concentrated Solar Power Project.

Located in Humansrus Solar Park in the Northern Cape Province, the 100MW Redstone Solar Power Project is expected to generate 466GWh of energy a year, thereby improving South Africa’s power supply, and assisting the country in its transition away from coal power, which currently makes up 82% of its energy mix.

The 100MW solar project will be coupled with a 12-hour molten salt thermal energy storage system, which will enable the project to meet peak electricity demand in the absence of sun. A new 132kV switching station and a 34km long single circuit 132kV transmission line will also be constructed.

“Of the countries currently using coal, South Africa is one of the few with an aggressive strategy towards developing solar-based power”, commented ADB President Akinwumi Adesina. “At the heart of this this transition to a low-carbon energy sector is a complete transformation of the future energy mix.”

South Africa’s transition has also been assisted by power utilities such as Eskom, who last month launched a pilot solar-powered microgrid with battery storage in the country’s Free State province.

Over the course of its life cycle, the Redstone project should create more than 3,500 jobs. It will also fulfil South Africa’s social development requirements on matters such as citizens employed and Black Economic Empowerment.

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