The Pre-feasibility

The pre-feasibility analysis confirmed that the Northern Cape has excellent and consistent sun; flat and sparsely-populated land; the ability to connect to the electricity grid at multiple points; water available from the Orange River; a developed highway system and Upington airport. Numerous regions of the province meet most, if not all, of the key criteria listed here. Based on the positive outcome of the pre-feasibility study a decision was taken to continue with a full feasibility study which has since started in June 2010. The pre-feasibility study estimated; that a 5 GW Solar Park could be constructed over nine years. This could result in the creation of approximately 12,300 average annual direct construction jobs.

The Feasibility Study

In line with the 2003 directive for CEF (SOC) Ltd to catalyse the Renewable Energy market in the country; in early 2011, the Minister requested CEF (SOC) Ltd to lead the South African Government in conducting the Feasibility Study for this initiative including engaging all interested and affected parties on this project.

The Project Team operates under oversight of the Programme Steering Committee (PSC) chaired by the DoE. Key decisions on this initiative are made in line with the CEF/DOE Policies and an Implementation Agreement. The overall objective is to complete a study that is credible to the global solar industry and meets all international standards notwithstanding all the national legislative imperatives prior to Cabinet’s criteria for approval.

Scope of Feasibility study amongst others include:

  • Solar electricity generation
  • Framework for Solar Park Development
  • Technical – economic evaluation
  • Industrial development and localisation
  • Financial Framework
  • Socio-economic benefits for the Northern Cape region
  • Co-ordination with Renewable Energy Solar Projects in Upington and Prieska areas

Scope of Geotechnical amongst others include:

  • Determine depth to bedrock and its properties
  • Determine soil characteristics across the site
  • Determine the surface and groundwater regimes
  • Advise on typical foundation solutions
  • Locate, test and quantify suitable local materials for earthworks

Scope of Environmental Impact Assessment

The EIA must cover amongst others the following areas:

  • Public consultation
  • Fauna /Flora
  • Ecology
  • Heritage Impact study
  • Visual Impact study
  • Soil & agricultural potential
  • Surface and ground water impact study
  • Impact of Avifauna
  • Social Impact
  • Noise Impact
  • Traffic Assessment study