Given the unforgiving amount of sunlight that Africa recieves everyday it makes it a potentially great place for the development of a large Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) industry.
According to a new report released this week called Concentrating Solar ower: Global Outlook 2009 [pdf] here's the current state of play for CSP technology in Africa:
Concentrated Solar Power in Algeria
Algeria has excellent solar resources of over 2,000 kWh/m2/year direct sunlight. Nationally, there is a goal to provide 10% of energy from renewable energy by 2025. Algeria has a domestic commitment to increase the solar percentage in its energy mix to 5% by 2015 but beyond this, they are considering a partnership with the European partners in which power plants in Algeria deliver green
energy needed for Europe to meet its targets.
A new company called New Energy Algeria (NEAL) was created to enhance participation of the local and international private sectors. In 2004, the Algerian Government published the first feedin law of any OECD country with elevated tariffs for renewable power production, called “Decret Executif 04-92” in the Official Journal of Algeria No. 19 to promote the generation of solar electricity in integrated solar combined cycles. This decree sets premium prices for electricity production from ISCCS, depending on the solar share, a 5-10% solar share can earn a 100% tariff, while a solar share over 20% can gain up to 200% of the regular tariff.
In 2005, NEAL launched a request for proposals for their 150 MW ISSC plant with 25 MWe of solar capacity from parabolic troughs. The project called for a tariff under 6 cents/kWh, with a solar share of over 5% and an internal rate of return in the range of 10 to 16%. The Abengoa group won the tender and their solar thermal plant is now under construction at Hassi R´mel. Two more projects
are planned; two 400 MW ISCC plants with 70 MW of CSP each, to be developed between 2010 and 2015. The feasibility study of the next project will be conducted in 2009.
Concentrated Solar Power in Morocco
Morocco undertook an investigation into solar thermal power in 1992 with EU-funding for a pre-feasibility study. In 1999, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) awarded the national electric utility, ONE, a USD 700,000 grant to prepare the technical specifications, bid documents and evaluation of offers for a 228 MWe Integrated Solar Combined Cycle System with a 30 MWe solar field of about 200,000 m².
A GEF grant of USD 50 million will cover the incremental cost of the solar component. Based on low interest, the project was changed to a turnkey power plant construction and five year operation and maintenance contract. In 2004, a General Procurement Notice was published and industry response was higher, with four international consortia making pre-qualification.
The bid documents were submitted to the World Bank for ‘Non-Objection’ in 2005. Financing will be by the African Development Bank. The contract went to Abengoa subsidiary Abener, giving the Spanish company the go ahead to build the 470 MW station at Beni Mathar in the northeast. The station is to begin operation in 2009.
Concentrated Solar Power in Egypt
Two pre-feasibility studies on parabolic-trough and central tower technologies were done in 1995 followed by a SolarPACES START mission in 1996, and Eygpt decided to a first 140 MW Integrated Solar Combined Cycle system with a 20 MW parabolic trough solar field.
The GEF provided consultancy services and offered to cover the incremental cost. The first phase detailed feasibility report was completed in 2000, followed by a short list of qualified and interested developers in 2001. The project stalled due to the unexpectedly high exchange rate of US Dollar-to Egyptian Pound. In mid- 2003, The World Bank decided to change its approach, to creating a government project, allowing private sector participation in a 5 year ownership and maintenance contract. In February 2004, 35 firms expressed their interest to a general procurement notice. In 2007 contracts were awarded to Iberdrola and Mitsui for the Combined Cycle Power Island and a consortium of Orascum and Flagsol to build the solar field. The plant is now under
construction and expected to start operation in year 2010.
Concentrated Solar Power in South Africa
The South African government has set a target of 10,000GWh of energy to be produced from renewable energy sources (mainly from biomass, wind, solar and small-scale hydro) by 2013. This would be equivalent to electrifying approximately 2 million households having an annual electricity consumption of 5 000 kWh. That is about 5% of the present electricity generation in South Africa, or replacing two 660MW units of Eskom's combined coal-fired power stations.
In March 2009, National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) approved feed-in tariffs for renewable energies, called REFIT. The feed-in tariffs, based on the levelised cost of electricity, are 2.10 R/kWh for concentrated solar, 1.25R/kWh for wind, 0.94R/kWh for small hydro, and 0.90 R/kWh for landfill gas. The term of the power purchase agreement will be 20 years. The REFIT will be
reviewed every year for the first 5-year period of implementation and every three years thereafter and the resulting tariffs will apply only to new projects.
By 2010, the South African power utility, Eskom, could be operating the world's largest central receiver CSP plant. Eskom undertook a feasibility study for a 100 MW pilot project molten salt central receiver plant that was updated in mid-2008. Eskom previously studied both parabolic-trough and central receiver technologies to determine which is the cheaper of the two. It will employ local manufacturers of key components and is asking for estimates from local glass and steel manufacturers. Ultimately, a decision will be based on a variety of factors, including cost, and which plant can be constructed with the most local content. A request for tenders should be released in the first half of 2009. Selected project will receive a premium tariff to ensure bankability. At the same time, feed-in tariffs are being investigated by the national regulator.
To further develop CSP, the government is supporting research through the Department of Science and Technology, providing funding to universities for this area. There is a National Solar and CSP research programme and the possibility that South Africa will establish a national solar/CSP centre in the future
Interested in what's going with Concentrated Solar Power in other regions of the world? Check out these articles:
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