The Kruisvallei hydropower plant, a project of Red Rocket, reached commercial operations on 25 February 2021. The completion of this plant comes almost two years since construction began on 26 March 2019.
Kruisvallei Hydro, as the project will be known, is the third hydropower project, procured under South Africa's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer's Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) to come online. The project was awarded Preferred Bidder Status under Bid Window 4 of the REIPPPP.
Kruisvallei Hydro which is situated along the Ash River between Clarens and Bethlehem in the Free State province is a one of a kind design for South Africa. Uniquely, the plant is split into two run-of-river hydropower plants that combine to supply 4 MW of hydro-electric power through two turbines that will generate around 24 GWh per annum providing power for some 1916 households.
The Ash River flows vary from approximately 15 to 40 m3 depending on the release schedule from the Lesotho Highlands Scheme. It is estimated that approximately 1-billion m3 of water will flow through each turbine each year. Achieving commercial operations on this project also marks a significant milestone for Red Rocket EPC that constructed the 4 MW hydropower project and the facility will be managed, operated, and maintained by Red Rocket asset management and O&M companies, respectively.
This is the first project within its greater portfolio which was undertaken using the company's fully integrated business model. Red Rocket will therefore have been responsible for and will participate in the full lifecycle of the project from development, design and construction to operation and maintenance.
Matteo Brambilla, CEO of Red Rocket says: “Building and operating a project of this nature closes the first of many circles for us as a fully-integrated IPP and we celebrate the completion of Kruisvallei, as an example of our capabilities and what we can bring to the market in the future.”
The project was developed, bid under the REIPPPP Round 4, sponsored, built, and will be operated and managed by Red Rocket. Facility for Investments in Renewable Small Transactions (FIRST), a specialised debt fund established to provide simple, accessible, and efficient funding for renewable energy projects in South Africa, provided funding of approximately R235-million to the project whose total project investment is approximately R370-million.
Greg Ansermino, Principal Fund Manager of FIRST stated that: “The Kruisvallei project is a testament to the Red Rocket team who managed to deliver a successful project during uncertain times and a demonstration of the role, and potential, for renewable energy projects in South Africa.”
H1 Holdings, which participates as a 46,5% shareholder via the project company, Zevobuzz, also sees a growth in its portfolio through the completion of this project, making the project an authentic vehicle for empowerment through the power sector in South Africa. Reyburn Hendricks of H1 explained that the project assists in achieving its objective of improving the lives of people using the power sector as an access point.
Says Hendricks: "We're excited to participate in this joint venture, where we will see South Africans receive meaningful improvements to their lives from ownership through to economic, social and development initiatives that we will undertake over the next two decades.”
The Kruisvallei Hydro has committed a percentage of its annual revenues to initiatives in education, housing and sustainable enterprise development initiatives, in areas surrounding, for the life cycle of the project.
Contact Leole-Ann Francis, Red Rocket Energy, Tel 021 418 3940, firstname.lastname@example.org