EDF Renewables achieved Commercial and Financial Close on its Umoyilanga Project on 28 November 2023, reaching Commercial Close with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, and then concluding Financial Close with Nedbank, RMB, and DBSA. This follows the signing of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Eskom and the Implementation Agreement (IA) with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on 30 August 2023.
This achievement follows in the wake of the consortium of leading international renewable energy supplier, EDF Renewables, and privately held investment company Perpetua Holdings (Pty) Ltd, winning the Umoyilanga project bid in the South African Government’s Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP), in March 2021. Early works have started, and the construction phase is now beginning, with COD expected in May 2025.
This innovative project combines solar, wind, and battery storage technologies to offer dispatchable and reliable power to the national electrical grid. The project will operate as a virtual power plant, combining generation from two sites which are 900 km apart, namely Avondale in the Northern Cape, with 115 MW of solar PV and 30 MW of battery storage, and Dassiesridge in the Eastern Cape, with 63 MW of wind and 45 MW of battery storage.
The unique combination of wind and solar resources with batteries enables Umoyilanga to provide 75 MW on demand from 05h00 to 21h30 as per the requirements of the PPA and demonstrates that renewable energy can provide reliable, dispatchable power at a competitive price.
To achieve this, batteries at Dassiesridge will generally charge from the wind energy at night, discharging power in the morning until the sun rises. The solar installation at Avondale will supply the bulk of the energy during the day, supplemented by wind energy from Dassiesridge. Excess solar energy will be used to charge the batteries at Avondale, which will discharge after sunset. A sophisticated energy management system will give instructions to assets across both sites to optimise the power supply in real-time, depending on weather forecasts and Eskom’s requirements. The low-carbon electricity produced will help to meet the electricity needs of 120 000 households for 20 years, based on the Eskom residential consumption average of 3 319 kWh/household.
To deliver the Umoyilanga Project, EDF Renewables has signed contracts with major contractors for each technology including:
- a turnkey EPC Agreement with China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC), to proceed with the final design, procurement, and construction of the 115 MW Avondale PV plant;
- a Turbines Supply and Installation Agreement with Vestas, to proceed with the erection of 14 wind turbines of 4.5 MW on Dassiesridge;
- a Wind Balance of Plant Contract with Power Construction and Adenco Construction, to build all required infrastructures on Dassiesridge; and
- a Battery Energy Storage System Supply Agreement with Sungrow Power Supply, to deliver battery systems to both sites.
The project has committed to providing around 890 job-year opportunities for local South African citizens (measured in job years) during construction at Dassiesridge and Avondale. Furthermore, the project has committed to contributing more than 40% of the capital expenditure to local content procurement of South African goods and services). Over the 20-year operational period, 1% of revenue will be dedicated to local communities through socio-economic initiatives.
Tristan de Drouas, CEO of EDF Renewables in South Africa, said: “The Commercial and Financial Close of the Project is a crucial milestone before the launch of the construction phase, so today is the achievement of a long journey. Our teams are particularly proud today because this flagship project demonstrates that wind and solar technologies, combined with batteries, can deliver flexible power competitively. We now look forward to implementing this project, and in doing so, supporting the South African Government’s and our ambitions to develop low-carbon energy solutions for the future, which will also help to solve the load shedding crisis.”
Perpetua Holdings director, Logan Govender added: “We have forged a solid collaboration and true sense of partnership with EDF Renewables on this project and we are excited by the innovative and high-impact contribution that we are collectively confident it will deliver to South Africa.”