China to implement world’s first CSP tower design standards; South Africa build plan drops CSP focus

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China to implement CSP tower design standards in December

China is to implement in December the world's first design standards for tower CSP plants, according to a stock-market announcement from China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC).

The new technical standards will include the "latest design concepts, requirements and technical level" for solar tower plants and they will play an important “guiding role” in China's first batch of CSP plants, CEEC said.

China's CSP Commercial Demonstration Pilot Program will see the construction of 20 plants for a total capacity of 1.35 GW.
The 50 MW Delingha CSP plant was the first large-scale CSP plant connected to China’s grid. Brought online in June, the Delingha plant uses parabolic trough technology and molten salt storage and has been developed by China General Nuclear Power (CGN).

China is rapidly expanding domestic renewable energy capacity to reduce carbon emissions and pollution levels worsened by a surge in fossil fuel-fired capacity. Chinese groups are also expanding overseas renewables activities.

China's Silk Road fund is to acquire 24% of ACWA Power's 700 MW DEWA CSP plant in Dubai, ACWA Power announced in July.

The Silk Road fund invests in a range of sectors under China's Belt and Road initiative, which expands China's influence over infrastructure, energy resources and industrial cooperation in Asia.

The giant DEWA CSP project will require 14.2 Billion AED ($3.9 billion) of investments. The project consists of three 200 MW parabolic trough systems supplied by Spain’s Abengoa and a 100 MW central tower plant supplied by U.S. developer BrightSource. Awarded at a record-low tariff price of $73/MWh, the plant will host up to 15 hours of energy storage capacity.

In April, Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power signed an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract with Shanghai Electric, a major Chinese power company, to install the project.

South Africa leaves out CSP in pro-renewables plan

South Africa's government published August 28 a revised draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010–2030 which includes no explicit support for new CSP projects.

South Africa's installed CSP capacity was 300 MW at the end of 2017. A further 300 MW of projects are expected online by the end of 2019.

The latest draft IRP sets out a least-cost approach to new independent power plants, and includes revised national assumptions on technology costs, power demand and Eskom's power generation performance. The IRP ditches support for new nuclear plants in favor of PV, wind and hydro power capacity.

The table below shows the proposed annual build rates in the IRP, by technology class.

                         South Africa's draft generation build plan

                                                         (Click image to enlarge)

Source: South African government's draft Integrated Resource Plan (August 2018).

Market participants have 60 days to comment on the draft IRP.

In April, the South African government finally signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for 27 renewable energy projects, ending more than two years of delays due to state financing concerns. The agreements included ACWA Power's 100 MW Redstone CSP project, awarded in 2015 at a tariff of $124/MWh for a period of 20 years.

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