Middle East develops 1.3 GW of CSP projects; South Africa President backs offtake contracts

Solar thermal news you need to know.

Middle East and North Africa development activity estimated at 1.3 GW

Around 1.3 GW of CSP capacity is under development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to a new report from the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA).

Projects are at bidding stage in Morocco, Iran, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates (UAE), while projects are planning stage in Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, MESIA said in its 'Solar Outlook Report 2017.'

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has received 30 expressions of interest for its first 200 MW CSP tower project, MESIA noted.

DEWA set a cost target for the project of $80/MWh and "it is rumoured that five or six consortia have prequalified" for the tender, the industry group said.

"Other projects in the region coming up for tender are [Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy's] 450 MW Midelt project in Morocco, and [Oman Power and Water Procurement Company's] 200 MW project in Oman. Both are hybrid projects combining PV and CSP," MESIA said.

                                      MENA CSP project pipeline

Source: MESIA

South Africa to sign renewables PPAs: President

South Africa will sign outstanding renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs) and will expand its Independent Power Producers Programme to include coal and gas-fired generation, President Jacob Zuma said in his State of the Nation Address February 9.

“Renewable energy forms an important part of our energy mix, which also includes electricity generation from gas, nuclear, solar, wind, hydro and coal,” Zuma said.

“Eskom will sign the outstanding power purchase agreements for renewable energy in line with the procured rounds,” he said.

South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP) has thus far procured 102 projects, representing investments of some 194.1 billion rand ($14.7 billion) including 53.4 billion rand from foreign investors, according to the South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC).

Since 2016, state utility Eskom has delayed the signing of a number of PPAs, holding back some 58 billion rand in investments, figures from SAREC show.

“Some of the serious economic effects of the recent pause in South Africa’s [REIPPPP] such as factory closures and job losses have caused serious hardship for this fledgling industry. We trust that there will now be rapid movement to resolve the impasse in line with the President’s directive”, Brenda Martin, SAREC chair, said in a statement.

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