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Eskom to sign EUR 100M deal with France for CSP plant

Eskom and Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) are to sign a R1.3 billion loan agreement, the power parastatal has announced.
Eskom on Tuesday said that the loan will go towards the funding of the 100 MW Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant near Upington, Northern Cape.

The CSP project is expected to deliver an annual energy production of 525 GWh and will be sufficient to power 200 000 homes.

CSP comprises a family of technologies that concentrate the sun's energy through large mirrors and utilises that concentrated thermal energy to produce steam to drive a conventional steam turbine for electricity generation. The technologies are similar to conventional power plants in that steam is used to power a turbine and generator, but the fossil fuel combustion is replaced with free, non-polluting solar energy.

"CSP is one of Eskom's first utility scale projects outside of the existing hydro portfolio and it puts us on a path towards reducing our carbon footprint and investing in a sustainable energy future," said Eskom chief executive officer Brian Dames.

Eskom and the AFD - which is a bi-lateral development finance institution that works on behalf of the French government - agreed on Monday night to facilitate the signing of the credit facility agreement.

Senior General Manager for Renewables at the utility, Ayanda Nakedi, said the CSP project will pave the way for industrial development and job creation by promoting the localisation of the technology.

The AFD is co-financing the CSP plant together with the African Development Bank, Clean Technology Fund (CTF), European Investment Bank (EIB), KfW (a public law institution existing under the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany) and the World Bank.

Speaking about Eskom's relationship with the AFD, Eskom's acting Chief Financial Officer Caroline Henry said: "The AFD is a valued partner and has been a key contributing factor to the progress we've achieved at both the Upington CSP plant and Sere wind farm. In total, the AFD has concluded €200 million in credit facility agreements, which has gone towards these two renewable energy projects."

In 2011, Eskom and AFD signed a EUR 100 million loan facility for the financing of the Sere wind farm near Vredendal in the Western Cape.

Additional information:
News date: 16/10/2013

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