South African solar thermal power plan generates interest  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

AFP has an update on plans for a 5 GW solar thermal power plant in South Africa's Kalahari desert - S.Africa solar plan draws interest: government.

South Africa's plan to build what could become the world's biggest solar project has drawn keen interest from investors even though it is still in its infancy, an official said Friday.

More than 400 investors and solar industry insiders from around the world converged on the town of Upington in South Africa's arid Northern Cape province this week for a two-day conference aimed at generating investor interest in plans for a 5,000-Megawatt solar park at the edge of the Kalahari Desert.

The park, whose estimated price tag is 150 billion rands (21.3 billion dollars, 15.4 billion euros), would provide one-eighth of South Africa's current generation capacity, helping end the country's reliance on coal and the power shortages that pummelled its economy in 2008.

Speaking at the close of the conference, Ompi Aphane, acting deputy director general of the Department of Energy, said investors were "very excited" about the project even though it is still in the planning stage.

"There's a lot that's out there in the market about our urgent need for capacity and I think investors want to take advantage of that, particularly if it's clean energy," he told reporters.

"There are concrete financial proposals that have been received, notwithstanding the fact that some of the transaction issues have not been resolved."

Aphane said officials received a billion-dollar investment proposal from a European development firm and several others from firms around the world.

1 comments

In his book Six Degrees, Mark Lynas reports on regional climate studies which suggest that wind speeds in the Kalahari are set to double over the next few decades. Together with the expected drying, this will be enough to re-mobilise the sand dunes.

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