Kruisvallei hydropower plant in South Africa now operational

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The Kruisvallei hydropower plant in Free State Province, South Africa has achieved commercial operation. Red Rocket’s first hydro-electric power project is the third hydropower project procured under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) to come online. Kruisvallei Hydro was awarded preferred bidder status under bid widow 4 of the REIPPP programme. Construction of the plant started on 26th March 2019 and it is now fully operational.

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Kruisvallei hydropower plant

The plant is situated along the Ash River between Clarens and Bethlehem in the Free State Province and is a one-of-a-kind design for South Africa. It is split into two run-of-river hydropower plants that combine to supply 4MW of hydro-electric power through two turbines that will generate around 24GWh per annum providing power for about 1,916 households.

The Ash River flows vary from approximately 15m3 to 40m3 depending on the release schedule from the Lesotho Highlands Scheme. It is estimated that approximately 1 billion m3 of water will flow through each turbine each year.

According to Matteo Brambilla, Red Rocket CEO, building and operating a project of this nature closes the first of many circles for the company as a fully-integrated IPP. “We celebrate the completion of Kruisvallei, as an example of our capabilities and what we can bring to the market in the future,” he said.

Facility for Investments in Renewable Small Transactions (FIRST), a specialised debt fund established to provide simple, accessible and efficient funding for renewable energy projects in South Africa, provided funding of approximately US $15.1m to the project whose total project investment is approximately US $23.9m.

Greg Ansermino, FIRST principal fund manager said that the Kruisvallei hydropower plant project is a testament to the Red Rocket team who managed to deliver a successful project during uncertain times and a demonstration of the role and potential, for renewable energy projects in South Africa.