Chile's first CSP plant now 80% complete; World Bank moves to protect South Africa CSP owner

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Chile's Cerro Dominador 80% complete, online by May 2020

Construction of the 110 MW Cerro Dominador CSP tower plant in Chile is 80% complete, Fernando Gonzalez, CEO of project owner EIG Atacama Management, told European industry group Protermosolar.

Located in Chile's Atacama desert, the $1.4 billion Cerro Dominador plant is expected to start supplying power to the grid in May 2020, Protermosolar said. The project was awarded a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) in 2014 at a price of $114/MWh.

  Global levelized costs for solar, wind in 2010-2022

                                (Click image to enlarge)

Source: IRENA's 'Renewable power generation costs in 2018' report (May 2019).

The plant will be equipped with 17.5 hours of molten salt thermal energy storage capacity and is being built by a consortium led by Spain's Acciona and technology supplier Abengoa. Last July, Acciona and Abengoa resumed construction of the plant after the project equity partners secured financing from an international consortium of banks.

The construction team has now installed more than 7,000 of the 10,600 heliostats required at the site and the receiver is currently being finished, Gonzalez said.

The CSP plant will be joined with an operational 100 MW PV plant to form a 210 MW hybrid solar facility capable of supplying power 24 hours a day. 

World Bank issues protection to South Africa CSP plant owner

MIGA, a World Bank division, has issued $98.6 million in guarantees to Atlantica Yield to protect its 51% stake in the operational 100MW Kaxu Solar One CSP plant in South Africa, MIGA said in a statement July 23.

The Kaxu plant is located in the Northern Cape and was brought online in Q1 2015. The plant uses parabolic trough technology and includes three hours of energy storage capacity.

The guarantees from MIGA provide protection to Atlantica Yield from Breach of Contract, future returns and investments. Kaxu holds a 20-year take-or-pay power purchase agreement (PPA) with Eskom, South Africa's state-owned power utility.

The plant was awarded in 2011 in the first round of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program (REIPPP).

Kaxu is “part of a broader effort to diversify South Africa’s energy mix and help transition the country to a low-carbon economy,” Keiko Honda, CEO of MIGA, said in a statement.

“The project also aims to provide reliable power among lower-income communities while supporting local employment," he said.

Earlier this year, France's Engie started commercial operation at its 100 MW Kathu CSP plant in the Northern Cape, raising South Africa's installed CSP capacity to 500 MW. Capacity will rise to 600 MW when ACWA Power completes its 100 MW Redstone CSP plant, currently under construction in the Northern Cape.

Last August, South Africa's government published a revised Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010–2030 which included no explicit support for new CSP projects.

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