JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 25, 2016/ — On 20 July, Avon Peaking Power started full commercial operation of its 670 MW power plant, located in Shakaskraal, 65 km North of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal Province.
The Open Cycle Gas Turbine plant consists of 4 units and is jointly owned by ENGIE, black majority owned Legend Power Solutions, Mitsui and the Peakers Trust representing the local community. The plant lay-out allows for flexibility with regards to future conversion using gas-fired technology and as such is part of South Africa’s gas-to-power development plans.
Arnaud de Limburg, CEO of Avon Peaking Power, commented: “The construction of the Avon and Dedisa power plants demonstrate the strength of the partnership between the South African government and the private sector. The start-up of Avon, only a few months after Dedisa will be instrumental in supporting South Africa’s industrial growth ambitions. The plants will provide much needed power and energy security during peak demand periods. They will equally benefit the socio-economic development of the communities surrounding each project.”
Mohamed Hoosen, Chairman of Avon and Dedisa Peaking Power, commented: “The success of Avon and Dedisa Peaking Power paved the way for the IPP model in South Africa. Continuing with this pioneering spirit the project intends to enter its next development phase as an anchor load for gas conversion through the DOE driven introduction of natural gas to South Africa. Interestingly Avon and Dedisa benefits the ramp up of renewable power projects by compensating for their intermittency.”
Mpho Scott, Chairman of Legend Power Solutions, added “this has been a long road of patience, unwavering tenacity and commitment to meaningful participation by black people in the energy sector. We are proud to be part of these history making events. Our two power plants, Avon and Dedisa are contribution over a 1 000 MW of power to help with energy security in our country.”
The Avon facility, together with its sister power plant the Dedisa 335 MW facility in Port Elizabeth, is South Africa’s first large Independent Power Project initiated by the Department of Energy (DOE). The facilities are contracted to supply electricity to Eskom Holdings, under 15-year Power Purchase Agreements awarded by the DOE on a Build, Own and Operate (BOO) basis. Dedisa Peaking Power was commissioned end of 2015.
Construction started in April 2014 with a consortium of Ansaldo Energia SpA and Fata SpA as turnkey EPC contractor; main subcontractor was Group 5 from South Africa. The operation of the plant will create permanent direct and indirect jobs for the local community over the 15 years of the PPA. Up to 1 500 jobs were created during construction with an achievement of 4,000,000 manhours. 88% of jobs were reserved for black employees of which 63% skilled. Recruitment was done locally in collaboration with the KwaDukuza Municipality.
Avon Peaking Power is already working in collaboration with stakeholders to develop sustainable projects which will benefit the community, focusing on education, social and welfare initiatives, advance BEE Enterprises and projects that promote biodiversity. Through the Peaker Trust, dividends of the plant operations will go to local socio-economic development initiatives.