In South Africa, the Stortemelk Hydro Power Plant reached its commercial operation in July 2016.

Having won preferred bidder status in round 2 of government’s renewable energy programme, Renewable Energy Holdings (REH) has now achieved the development of three hydro plants in the country, Engineering News reported.

The 4.5MW run-of-river hydro project, located in the Free State province, was developed at a total project cost of R190 million ($14,166,239), where the capital cost was financed through Rand Merchant Bank.

Equity financing was provided by REH, Mertech Group and an independent broad-based black economic empowerment firm, Engineering News reported.

Hydro plant development

Having commenced construction in August 2014, REH Group said:”The project is being implemented under an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) structure with contracts being awarded to Andritz Hydro GmbH and Indar Electrical SL for the plant’s turbine, generator and switchgear; to Aurecon South Africa (Pty) Ltd for engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services; and Eigenbau (Pty) Ltd for civil works construction.”

SA projects viable

In earlier news, GIBB said that the potential of hydropower in South Africa is relatively small, but with trans-boundary agreements and regional co-operation agreements in place, South Africa’s commitment to purchasing power from promising hydro sites in the sub-Sahara region makes their development a more viable option.

Commenting on the endorsement by heads of state in the region of 15 hydropower projects with an estimated value of $50 billion, Colin Logan, technical executive at GIBB, said: “Central Africa has huge hydropower potential to meet both its local and export requirements.

“The Congo and Zambezi river basins are estimated to be able to provide 774 TWh/year and 38 TWh/year respectively.”