French utility Engie SA has announced acquisition of 40% stake in the 100-MW Xina Solar One concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in SA from the Spanish engineering group Abengoa.
Apparently, Abengoa has also made a sale of 46% interest in Xina Operations and Maintenance Company Ltd, which is reportedly an entity that services the plant, in the same transaction.
As per sources, the transaction has left Abengoa’s entire stake in Xina Solar One with Engie, retaining the remaining 46% shares in the Xina O&M company.
Speculations have it that the transaction has enabled Engie to be the sole owner of majority of the shares in the plant. The remaining 60% of the shares are split between South African-based development finance group Industrial Development Corp (IDC) and the asset manager and pension fund Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and the Xina Community Trust.
According to credible sources, the deal has assisted Engie in raising its total installed capacity to 1,320 MW in South Africa. Apart from the Xina Solar One, the company has also put up interest in the 94-MW Aurora wind farm, 100-MW Kathu CSP plant, two solar PV farms of 21 MW, and two thermal power peaking plants namely 670-MW Avon and 335-MW Dedisa.
Mohamed Hoosen, Engie Managing Director, Renewables for Asia, Middle East and Africa has stated that the acquisition of Xina Solar One complements the firm’s 2045 zero carbon emission aim by contributing to a global target of 50 GW of installed replenishable capacity by 2025 and 80 GW by 2030.
For the record, Xina Solar One located in Pofadder in Northern Cape province is a parabolic trough plant which can generate almost 400GWh per year and can reserve energy for five and a half hours in molten salts. The plant apparently functions as per a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with South African utility Eskom.