South Africa: Engie purchases shares in 100MW Xina Solar One CSP

01 Mar 2021

Engie on 1 March announced that it has acquired a 50% stake in the the 100MW Xina One concentrated solar plant (CSP) in the Northern Cape from Abengoa, which filed for insolvency in Spain on 22 February. Engie also acquired a 46% of the operations and maintenance company, Xina CSP Operations.

Abengoa filed for insolvency after failing to restructure debt worth around €6bn. The company only narrowly avoided bankruptcy in 2016 when it refinanced €9bn debt.

The announcement follows the Competitions Tribunals approval of the transaction between Engie Global Development B.V, Xina CSP South Africa and Xina CSP Operations, announced on 22 January.

Xina One, which came online in August 2017, uses parabolic trough technology and molten salts to allow up to 5.5 hours - 1,650MWh - thermal energy storage. It generates around 380GWh/yr. Power is sold to national utility Eskom under a 20-year power purchase agreement. Engie hopes synergies between Xina One and Engie’s nearby Kathu CSP will help improve operational efficiency at both plants.

“With the acquisition of this project, Engie is pursuing its low carbon strategy”, Engie Middle East, South and Central Asia, Turkey, and Africa (MESCATA) chief executive Sébastien Arbola said. “Xina augments the country’s installed peaking power and reduces its dependence on coal-fired electricity. The 100MW CSP also contributes to Engie’s geographic rationalisation by expanding its footprint in South Africa, where it is the leading independent power producer with 1,320MW of installed capacity.”

Engie announced last month that its Africa business had been rolled into its MESCAT unit, with the company deciding to focus on expanding its operations Egypt, Morocco, Senegal and South Africa (AE 432/1).

In South Africa, Engie is a shareholder in the 94MWAurora wind farm, 10.395MW Vredendal, and 10.35MW Aurora solar PV plants, as well as the 670MW Avon and 335MW Dedisa thermal plants.


Image: Xina Solar One. Source: African Energy Live Data

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