UAE's Amea Power awarded $120m solar project in South Africa

Construction will commence by mid-2023, the renewable energy developer says

Workers install panels at a solar park in Lamberts Bay in South Africa. AP
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Dubai-based Amea Power has been awarded a 120-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) project in South Africa.

The company, which is the majority shareholder in the $120 million project, has teamed up with a consortium made up of Ziyanda Energy and Dzimuzwo Consulting, AMEA Power said in a statement on Wednesday.

The solar plant will sell electricity to state utility Eskom under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

“The awarding of this project represents another major milestone for Amea Power as it is our first in South Africa and was granted in competition with other major renewable energy players,” said Amea Power chairman Hussain Al Nowais.

“Over the next decade, the country will undergo a massive transition in its approach to electricity generation as the network decommissions large amounts of coal generation and adopts cleaner solutions like wind and solar.”

Amea Power, which currently produces about two gigawatts of clean energy through solar and wind energy plants in 15 countries, plans to raise its output to five gigawatts in the next three years.

Last month, the company said it secured funding to develop a solar plant and a wind farm in Egypt.

The projects, which represent a $1.1 billion investment in the North African country’s economy, have power purchase agreements in place with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company and usufruct agreements with the New and Renewable Energy Authority, an Egyptian government body.

South Africa, one of Africa’s largest economies, has been investing heavily in renewable energy.

The country aims to increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix to 41 per cent by 2030, from 11 per cent in 2019. It also plans to decommission between eight and 12 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants over the next decade.

Coal is the mainstay of the country’s energy system, meeting roughly 70 per cent of installed power generation capacity.

The project, which will be located in South Africa’s North West province, is expected to generate more than 325 gigawatts per hour of electricity every year.

Construction will commence by mid-2023, the company said.

“As Amea Power expands its clean energy footprint across the continent, South Africa will be a major market for the company and an opportunity to work with local partners to develop projects across the country,” said Mr Al Nowais.

Amea Power said it had “secured” several sites suitable for the development of a further gigawatt of renewable energy projects in South Africa.

The company is also exploring opportunities with a number of commercial and industrial entities across South Africa to provide them with access to renewable energy.

Global renewable power capacity growth is on track to nearly double in the next five years, overtaking coal as the largest source of electricity generation, according to the International Energy Agency.

Renewable power capacity is expected to grow by 2,400 gigawatts by 2027, equivalent to the current power capacity of China, the world’s second-largest economy, the IEA said in its Renewable 2022 report earlier this month.

Updated: December 14, 2022, 11:11 AM