EDF Renewables inks PPA with Eskom for 178MW hybrid project in South Africa

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The Umoyilanga project will combine solar, wind and battery storage technologies. Image: EDF Renewables

French utility EDF Renewables has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with South African state-operated utility Eskom and an implementation agreement with the South African government for a hybrid project to be built in South Africa.

The Umoyilanga project will combine solar, wind and battery storage technologies to offer power to the national electrical grid. Operating as a virtual power plant, the project will consist of two sites, including Avondale in the Northern Cape, with 115MW of solar PV and 30MW of battery storage, and Dassiesridge in the Eastern Cape, with 63MW of wind and 45MW of battery storage.

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EDF Renewables said early works of the project had started, with financial close expected to be achieved by the second half of October 2023. The construction period under the PPA will begin immediately afterwards, with the commercial operations date to be May 2025.

“The signing of the PPA with Eskom is a crucial milestone before financial close and the launch of the construction phase. We look forward to realising this project in South Africa… and helping solve the load shedding crisis,” said Tristan de Drouas, CEO of EDF Renewables in South Africa.

In addition to the PPA, EDF Renewables also signed a turnkey engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) agreement with China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC) to proceed with the final design, procurement and construction of the Avondale PV plant.

EDF Renewables said the solar installation at Avondale will offer the bulk of the energy during the day, supplemented by wind energy from Dassiesridge. Excess solar energy will be used to charge the batteries at the same site, which will discharge after sunset. Batteries at Dassiesridge will generally charge from the wind energy at night, discharging power in the morning until the sun rises. Therefore, the combination of solar and wind can help the project power from 5am-9:30pm as per the requirements of the PPA.

EDF Renewables won the project bid in the South African Government’s Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP) with investment company Perpetua in March 2021.

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