ACWA Power Plans Portfolio Growth in Southern Africa Projects

ACWA Power International, a Saudi Arabia-based owner and operator of energy projects, wants southern Africa to account for 20 percent of its portfolio by 2025, its chairman said.

The region is “not even 1 percent” of its current global assets, Chairman Mohammad Abunayyan said in an interview at the company’s Johannesburg office Friday. ACWA Power’s plants have a combined generation capacity of more than 15,700 megawatts, with more than a third located in Saudi Arabia.

South Africa, which has suffered rolling blackouts this year as electricity demand exceeds supply, is running a five-round program of tenders to tap new sources of energy and encourage more private companies to build power projects.

The program has been “well thought out” and has helped make the continent’s second-largest economy a cluster for ACWA Power’s growth, Abunayyan said.

The company is the majority owner of the 5 billion-rand ($402 million) Bokpoort concentrated solar power project near Upington in the Northern Cape province, which will generate about 50 megawatts from early 2016. There will be no cost overruns and the project will be on time, Abunayyan said.

ACWA Power also plans to bid on a coal-fired project as part of the South African Department of Energy’s program to get independent electricity producers to provide 2,500 megawatts of capacity from coal plants, with bidders limited to a maximum of 600 megawatts.

The company is also broadening its search for projects throughout the region. ACWA Power is leading a group to build a 300-megawatt coal-fired plant in Mozambique valued at about $900 million. Construction is expected to start in two months, Abunayyan said.

The company is also bidding on projects in Botswana and Namibia, and is evaluating other countries, he said.

ACWA Power is owned by eight Saudi groups, Sanabil Direct Investment Co. and the Saudi Public Pensions Agency.

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