These private power plants help fight load-shedding in South Africa

There are multiple renewable energy power plants in operation across South Africa which support Eskom in providing electricity to the national grid.

These stations form part of government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPP), aimed at decreasing the country’s reliance on fuel-based generation over the next decade.

Government has opened up bidding for more than 11,800MW of power to be procured from IPPs, including renewable energy, natural gas, battery storage and coal.

While much of this capacity is due to only come online in the next few years, Eskom’s online data portal shows that it has already installed renewable generation capacity of around 5,350MW, the majority of which is provided by IPPs.

Wind energy generation capacity accounts for more than half of this — 2,612.7MW — with only 100MW being from Eskom’s own Sere Wind Farm project.

Private photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants provide a further 2,211.1MW of capacity, while concentrated solar power (CSP) plants contributed the remaining 500MW.

Although this capacity might appear significant when looking at South Africa’s typical demand of around 30,000MW during the winter period, it should be emphasised that these plants are not always capable of performing at full capacity.

South Africa’s peak periods are typically in the early evenings or mornings, when there is not enough sun around for PV solar to sufficiently support the grid.

This means that South Africa still has to rely heavily on coal and gas stations to rapidly spin up generation at these critical times.

Nevertheless, recent updates from Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshasha have highlighted how wind and CSP solar — which has the benefit of power storage for later use — either helped the utility to avoid load-shedding or lower the required load-shedding stages during evening peak hours.

The table below shows how much power was provided by renewable energy generation over the course of a week in May and June at evening peak times.

Evening peak generation from renewables
Date  Concentrated Solar Power Wind Power Total contribution
Sunday 30 May 2021 182MW 488MW 670MW
Monday 31 May 2021 226MW 605MW 831MW
Tuesday 1 June 2021 333MW 539MW 872MW
Wednesday 2 June 2021 299MW 1,174MW 1,473MW
Thursday 3 June 2021 148MW 710MW 858MW
Friday 4 June 2021 254MW 337MW 591MW
Saturday 5 June 2021 307MW 775MW 1,082MW
Average for week 250MW 661MW 911MW

The Department of Energy’s Independent Power Producer (IPP) Projects website shows that there are currently 77 renewable energy projects in operation in the country.

While most of these are solar PV plants,  the top 11 plants by capacity are onshore wind farms in the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape.

The largest wind farm by capacity is Longyuan Mulilo Green Energy De Aar 2 North Wind Energy Facility in the Northern Cape, with a maximum output of 138.96MW.

Next up is the Nxuba Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape with 138.9MW capacity, followed by the Loeriesfontein 2 Wind Farm in the Northern Cape, with 138.2MW capacity.

The remaining large wind farms on the list ranged in output from 107.76MWMW to 137MW.

Below are photos of the top three largest private wind farms in the country.


Longyuan Mulilo Green Energy De Aar 2 North Wind Energy Facility


Nxuba Wind Farm


Loeriesfontein Wind Farm 2


The other major contributors to the current renewable energy generation during load-shedding are CSP plants – four of which have 100MW capacity each.

These four are all located in the Northern Cape, and can provide a minimum of three hours of power storage for when the sun is not shining.

Near Pofadder are the Xina Solar One and Kaxu Solar One plants, while the Ilanga CSP 1 and Kathu Solar Parks are located near Upington and Kathu, respectively.

Below are photos of these CSP plants.


 Kathu Solar Power Plant


Ilanga CSP 1


Xina Solar One


The full list

The largest individual solar PV plant projects feeding power into the grid provide 75MW of capacity each.

Eskom’s latest renewable generation data showed solar plants typically produce more than 1,500MW at their peak during the winter.

While they have excellent output throughout the day, their contribution to the total energy mix drops off when the sun sets, as they have no battery storage.

The remaining renewable energy types on the IPP database were two small hydro plants and one landfill gas plant.

The table below lists the private power plants which were in commercial operation as of Sunday 6 June 2021, according to the Department of Energy’s IPP Projects Database.

Operational private renewable energy plants in South Africa
Project name Generation type Capacity Province Nearest town/city
Longyuan Mulilo Green Energy De Aar 2 North Wind Energy Facility Onshore Wind 138.96MW Northern Cape De Aar
The Nxuba Wind Farm Onshore Wind 138.9MW Eastern Cape Cookhouse
Loeriesfontein 2 Onshore Wind 138.23MW Northern Cape Loeriesfontein
Khobab Wind Onshore Wind 137.74MW Northern Cape Loeriesfontein
Kangnas Onshore Wind 136.7MW Northern Cape Springbok
Cookhouse Wind Farm Onshore Wind 135.8MW Eastern Cape Cookhouse
Gouda Wind Project Onshore Wind 135.5MW Western Cape Gouda
Jeffreys Bay Onshore Wind 135.11MW Eastern Cape Jeffrey’s Bay
Amakhala Wind Project Onshore Wind 131.05MW Eastern Cape Bedford
Red Cap – Gibson Bay Onshore Wind 108.25MW Eastern Cape Humansdorp
Perdekraal East Onshore Wind 107.76MW Western Cape Touwsrivier
XiNa Solar One Concentrated Solar Power with storage (min 3 hrs per day) 100MW Northern Cape Pofadder
Ilanga CSP 1 / Karooshoek Solar One Concentrated Solar Power with storage (min 3 hrs per day) 100MW Northern Cape Upington
Kathu Solar Park Concentrated Solar Power with storage (min 3 hrs per day) 100MW Northern Cape Kathu
Kaxu Solar One Concentrated Solar Power with storage (min 3 hrs per day) 100MW Northern Cape Pofadder
Dorper Wind Farm Onshore Wind 97.53MW Eastern Cape Molteno
Longyuan Mulilo De Aar Maanhaarberg Wind Energy Facility Onshore Wind 96.48MW Northern Cape De Aar
Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm Onshore Wind 93.68MW Eastern Cape Clarkson
Wind Farm West Coast 1 Onshore Wind 90.82MW Western Cape Vredenburg
Nojoli Wind Farm Onshore Wind 86.6MW Eastern Cape Cookhouse
Noupoort Wind Farm Onshore Wind 79.05MW Northern Cape Noupoort
Kouga Red Cap Wind Farm – Oyster Bay Onshore Wind 77.7MW Eastern Cape Humansdorp
Adams Solar PV 2 Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 75MW Northern Cape Hotazel
Dyason’s Klip 1 Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 75MW Northern Cape Upington
Dyason’s Klip 2 Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 75MW Northern Cape Upington
Jasper Power Company Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 75MW Northern Cape Postmasburg
Kathu Solar Plant Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 75MW Northern Cape Kathu
Konkoonsies II Solar Facility Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 75MW Northern Cape Pofadder
Matla A Bokone Solar Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 75MW Northern Cape Kimberley
Mulilo Prieska PV Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 75MW Northern Cape Copperton
Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska PV Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 75MW Northern Cape Copperton
Paleisheuwel Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 75MW Western Cape Clanwilliam
Pulida Solar Park Photovoltaic Thin Film Fixed 75MW Free State Jacobsdal
Sirius Solar PV Project One Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 75MW Northern Cape Upington
Solar Capital De Aar Photovoltaic Thin Film Fixed 75MW Northern Cape De Aar
Solar Capital De Aar 3 Photovoltaic Thin Film Fixed 75MW Northern Cape De Aar
Waterloo Solar Park Photovoltaic Crystalline – Single Axis 75MW North West Vryburg
Zeerust Photovoltaic Crystalline – Single Axis 75MW North West Ramotshere Moiloa
Sishen Solar Facility Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 74MW Northern Cape Kathu
Nobelsfontein Phase 1 Onshore Wind 73.8MW Northern Cape Victoria West
Kalkbult Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 72.4MW Northern Cape Phillipstown
Dreunberg Photovoltaic Crystalline – Single Axis 69.6MW Eastern Cape Burgersdorp
Bokamoso Photovoltaic Crystalline – Single Axis 67.9MW North West Matlosana
Hopefield Wind Farm Onshore Wind 65.4MW Western Cape Hopefield
Lesedi Power Company Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 64MW Northern Cape Postmasburg
Letsatsi Power Company Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 64MW Free State Bloemfontein
Tom Burker Solar Park Photovoltaic Thin Film Fixed 60MW Limpopo Ellisras
Grassridge Onshore Wind Project Onshore Wind 59.8MW Eastern Cape Coega
Boshoff Solar Park Photovoltaic Crystalline – Single Axis 57MW Free State Boshof
Bokpoort CSP project Concentrated Solar Power with storage (min 3 hrs per day) 50MW Northern Cape Groblershoop
De Wildt Photovoltaic Crystalline – Single Axis 50MW North West Brits
Khi Solar One Concentrated Solar Power with storage (min 3 hrs per day) 50MW Northern Cape Upington
South African Mainstream Renewable Power De Aar PV RF (Pty) Ltd Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 45.6MW Northern Cape De Aar
South African Mainstream Renewable Power Droogfontein (RF) (Pty) Ltd Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 45.4MW Northern Cape Kimberley
Aggeneys Solar Project Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 40MW Northern Cape Aggeneys
Linde Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 36.8v Northern Cape Hanover
Touwsrivier Project Photovoltaic Crystalline- Dual Axis 36MW Western Cape Touwsrivier
Witkop Solar Park Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 29.68MW Limpopo Polokwane
Soutpan Solar Park Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 27.94MW Limpopo Dendron
Dassieklip Wind Energy Facility Onshore Wind 27MW Western Cape Caledon
Metrowind Van Stadens Wind Farm Onshore Wind 27MW Eastern Cape Port Elizabeth
Waainek Wind Power Onshore Wind 23.28MW Eastern Cape Grahamstown
Chaba Wind Power Onshore Wind 21MW Eastern Cape Komga
Herbert PV Power Plant Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 19.9MW Northern Cape Douglas
Mulilo Solar PV Prieska Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 19.12MW Northern Cape Copperton
Mulilo Solar PV De Aar Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 10MW Northern Cape De Aar
Neusberg Hydro Electrical Project Small Hydro 10MW Northern Cape Kakamas
Greefspan PV Power Plant Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis 9.9MW Northern Cape Douglas
Aries Solar Energy Facility Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 9.65MW Northern Cape Kenhardt
Konkoonsies Solar Energy Facility Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 9.65MW Northern Cape Pofadder
Aurora-Rietvlei Solar Power Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 8.9MW Western Cape Aurora
Upington Airport Photovoltaic Thin Film Fixed 8.9MW Northern Cape Upington
Vredendal Solar Park Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 8.8MW Western Cape Vredendal
Joburg Landfill Gas to Electricity Landfill Gas 7.56MW Gauteng Braamfontein
RustMo1 Solar Farm Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 6.93MW North West Rustenburg
Slimsun Swartland Solar Park Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed 5MW Western Cape Malmesbury
Stortemelk Power Plant Small Hydro 4.22MW Free State Clarens

Now read: Cheap ways to protect against load-shedding

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments

Recommended

Share this article
These private power plants help fight load-shedding in South Africa