Mainstream Renewable Power to progress with wind and solar projects in South Africa

Mainstream Renewable Power is to start building two solar plants and one wind-energy farm in South Africa after signing financing, power purchase and implementation agreements with the South African government. The three renewable projects will have a combined cost of €500m.

Dublin-based Mainstream, which was set up by Eddie O’Connor in 2008 following the sale of Airtricity to E.ON and Scottish and Southern Energy for €1.8bn, develops, builds and operates wind and solar thermal plants.

In September, Mainstream secured €60m in financing from the renewable energy investor Macquarie to help fund wind and solar projects and to expand its global project development portfolio.

For the South African projects, Mainstream will be issuing a ‘notice to proceed’ with contractors this week. The company is aiming to have all three projects up and running by mid-2014.

Mainstream will be working with its local development partner Genesis Eco-Energy to construct the 138MW Jeffreys Bay wind farm in the Eastern Cape, as well as two 50MW solar photovoltaic farms, which will be based in the Northern Cape.

Last November, Mainstream was the lead member in a consortium that made a successful bid for licences to build the three projects under the South African Government’s first Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP).

According to Businessweek, Siemens will provide the wind turbines and Suntech Power Holdings will supply the solar panels for the projects.

“This milestone reinforces the leading position of Mainstream in the South African electricity market,” said O’Connor.

He praised the South African government for its “vision” in expanding the country’s renewable energy industry.

“Mainstream is fully committed to playing a leading role in the delivery of this vision, to bringing significant socio-economic benefits to the areas in which we’re building the projects, as well as clean, free-fuel energy to South Africa,” added O’Connor.

The three projects are anticipated to produce 635GWh of electricity, enough to supply up to 48,000 households.

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