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Siemens gives boost to South African renewables

Global technology company Siemens has been commissioned to help South Africa exploit its vast potential for renewables

In recent months South Africa’s renewable energy sector has seen immense activity with the government and several private sectors announcing new wind and solar power projects

Siemens technology and expertise will be used to develop several renewables projects in South Africa including two solar power plants and 60 wind turbines.

The multinational technology company will supply equipment and engineering,procurement, construction services to the projects, being undertaken by lead developer Mainstream Renewable Power along with other partners like energy solutions firm, Globeleq.

Siemens Energy will develop two solar power plants each with a capacity of 50 MW in De Aar and Droogfontein in the Northern Cape. The projects are expected to provide electricity to 130,000 houses and are scheduled to be commissioned in 2014.

Mainstream Renewable has already signed the power purchase agreement, project implementation and key financing contract with the government and South African power utility Eskom, and plans an investment of more than EUR 500 million.

In addition to these two projects, Siemens will supply about 60 wind turbines, each with a 2.3 MW capacity and a rotor diameter of 101m for the 138MW Jeffreys Bay wind farm in the Eastern Cape. Operation and maintenance of the turbines will also be provided by Siemens for ten years.

The company said that the first round of the procurement for 25-30 per cent of the components will be sourced from local contractors, and vendors and imported components like photovoltaic modules and inverters will be sourced from outside.

Ute Menikheim, Siemens Energy CEO for Africa, said: "South Africa has outstanding conditions for the utilisation of solar and wind energy and has set up a remarkable renewable energy programme. Renewable energy will help to increase access to electricity, create much-needed jobs and support the economic growth on the continent while lowering our carbon emissions."

The South African Energy Department is seeking bids for 3,725 MW of renewable energy projects through its Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. International leaders in renewable energy, like Abengoa and several others, have signed agreements to provide services for implementation of large-scale renewable energy projects. Standard Chartered Bank has committed over USD 1 billion, while the US Export-Import Bank will lend USD 2 billion for renewable energy projects.