South African renewable-energy projects enter construction phase

Engineering News | 15 Feb 2013

Management consultancy firm Arup on Friday said construction had started on a number of the renewable-energy projects in South Africa for which it was acting as lender’s technical adviser or owner’s engineer.

The nine photovoltaic and wind projects with which Arup was involved, represented almost one-third of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme’s (REIPPPP’s) Round 1 projects, which reached financial close in late 2012.

The REIPPPP aimed to create 3 725 MW of renewable energy to ensure the continued uninterrupted supply of electricity in the country.

The nine projects totalled about 300 MW and were located across South Africa; however, Arup spokesperson Vicky Evans confirmed to Engineering News Online that the majority of the projects were located in the Northern Cape.

Arup indicated that the first of the projects were anticipated to reach commercial operation in November.

“Despite the delays in reaching financial close, we are now seeing some quality projects in construction, which are making South Africa’s renewable-energy dream a reality,” the company said.

Evans pointed out that technical risks related to the contractual processes for the projects included the extent to which engineering, procurement and construction, as well as observation and measurement contracts were fully wrapped; the identification of proposed ‘carve outs’; and the then commercial implications for the project.

“Ensuring that communication of such risks and their potential impact for all parties is simple but effective. Also, early detection and warning of the potential risks is very important. As we know which aspects to look for, we can highlight potential pitfalls efficiently and effectively,” Evans added.

Arup was also currently involved in a number of the REIPPPP Round 2 projects, which were due to reach financial close on March 18, while submissions for Round 3 were due on August 19.

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