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South Africa’s Bokpoort 50-MW CSP plant achieves 13 days of continuous operation

Credit: ACWA Power

Developer ACWA Power announced over the weekend that the Bokpoort CSP plant has become the first renewable facility on the African continent to complete a full week of continuous round the clock operation. Bokpoort CSP set the new African continental benchmark achieving 13 days (312 hours) of continuous operations on 23 October 2020, almost double the previous record it had set in March 2016. This accomplishment was made possible by optimally managing 9.3 hours of the thermal salt storage system overnight, which allowed for a perfectly timed transition to the solar field every morning for the entire duration of this effort.

The 50 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant with thermal storage was commissioned during the 2nd bidding window of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program (REIPPP) and has been setting consistent records since the commencement of its operation in 2016.

“We take utmost pride in this record-breaking effort that successfully delivered 312 hours of continuous operations, which translate to approximately 13GWh of energy supply to the grid at an energy load factor of 83%. This is remarkable for a renewable energy facility and is equivalent to about 20 hours of full load operations daily (with a 50MW turbine) akin to baseload technologies,” said Christo Spammer, Bokpoort CSP CEO

“The consistency and reliability of the plant performance is evident from its 101.2% cumulative production performance from June 2020 to October 2020, in relation to the Production Simulation Model that sets the design expectations of the Bokpoort CSP plant. The fact that this performance was achieved during a global pandemic amidst national lockdown protocols, and where the COVID-19 virus had impacted site operations and affected deployment restrictions, is phenomenal,” Spammer added.

Chairperson of Bokpoort CSP, Mr. Nandu Bhula, said: “Bokpoort CSP is now setting records with consistent regularity and can be considered as a role model regional CSP facility that is delivering on all fronts, including production, health, safety, environment as well as socio-economic obligations

ACWA power said that renewable technology development and deployment around the globe has significantly intensified and the future of CSP in this mix remains equally exciting. With the proven and reliable performance of CSP plants across the globe, alongside well-established efficiencies, CSP technology should undoubtedly take its rightful place amongst other suitable renewable technologies, in pursuit of the collective goal of achieving energy security in all countries that have been blessed with a significant solar resource, according to the company.