First concentrated solar thermal power plant with molten salt central receiver
Grinaker-LTA’s role in the Redstone Concentrated Solar Thermal (CSP) power plant project in the Northern Cape, which is the largest investment made to date in terms of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (REIPP) Procurement Programme, consists of the construction of package C3 civils permanent works.
Abdool Shaikh, Managing Executive of Grinaker-LTA’s Civil Engineering division, clarifies that President Ramaphosa, together with the client and an entourage comprising various government members and local dignitaries, took part in a site visit to Redstone CSP power plant in October.
“This was a real honour for all parties concerned in the construction of this landmark renewable energy project,” he enthuses.
“President Ramaphosa took a keen interest in all facets of the project, paying close attention to the detailed full-scale model of the CSP power plant, before donning the requisite personal protective equipment (PPE) and inspecting the site.
As a tier-one, 100 percent black-owned construction company, Grinaker-LTA is pleased and proud to have been part of this event – and to have played a role in the construction of this ground-breaking renewable energy power plant,” he adds.
The 100MW Redstone CSP plant, which forms part of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (REIPP) Procurement Programme, is the first project-financed CSP with molten salt central receiver in the world, and also one of the largest investments in South Africa under the REIPP. Following commissioning, commercial operation is scheduled to commence towards the end of 2023.
With 12 hours of full-load energy storage, Redstone will be able to reliably deliver a stable electricity supply to more than 200,000 South African homes during peak demand periods, even well after the sun has set.
As bid leader on the project, Grinaker-LTA Civil Engineering division’s General Manager Chris Tshivhidzo was responsible for overseeing operations on the project execution, while managing the construction schedule and the budget. Tshivhidzo clarifies that the company was awarded the civil permanent package C3 work by international investors.
He explains: “ACWA Power, a leading Saudi developer, investor and operator of power generation plants, and Chinese engineering company SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Limited, managed the project – and they required a reputable contractor to execute the construction of the project’s critical structures.”
Tshivhidzo adds that the experience of working with an international, diverse and multi-cultural client proved to be interesting and a worthwhile learning experience for the Grinaker-LTA team.”
Tshivhidzo outlines that the contract awarded to Grinaker-LTA’s Civil Engineering division consisted of the scope of work to construct the following critical structures in the thermal power plant:
- Steam generation structure
- Molten salt pumps structure
- Hot salt storage tank
- Cold salt storage tank
- Water treatment plant civils
- Fire protection water pump house civils
- Demineralised water storage tank
- Effluent collection area
- Retaining wall
Tshivhidzo notes that the Grinaker-LTA section of the project is due to be completed in December 2022 – with the overall project scheduled for completion in 2024 – and that ACWA Power and SEPCOII managed the project extremely well.
Tshivhidzo clarifies that major challenges involved in the project include tight timelines and a tight budget, management of engineering changes required, and also integrating the different ways in which teams from three countries – Saudi Arabia, China and South Africa – work.
“We addressed these through wise use of resources, positive contract negotiations, and adopting a mindset that was willing and able to adapt to different cultural expectations and ideas,” he says.
“Grinaker-LTA was pleased to assist our international clients, smoothing the way as they adjusted to the South African construction environment. This included many aspects, from gaining an understanding of South African labour laws, local weather and physical conditions on site – to the requirements of partnering with local communities and businesses.”
“The project is also having a positive impact on the local community and economy overall,” advises Tshivhidzo, “by opening job opportunities and upskilling local labour, as well as using local suppliers and sub-contractors. We have employed 80 local employees who received on-site training and development. We have also partnered with 20 local businesses that are providing us with products and services. As a company, Grinaker-LTA prioritises local spending and development of community businesses on our projects wherever possible.”
Shaikh notes that Grinaker-LTA’s participation in the Redstone CSP project is a source of immense pride to the company: “This is a milestone REIPP, fast-track project requiring rapid, responsive management and also involving multi-national companies which have invested significantly in the global – and local – renewable energy market. We are pleased and humbled to be playing an active role in supporting South Africa’s renewable energy programme and facilitating energy generation, for the future sustainability of the country as a whole.
As Grinaker-LTA, we look forward to completing our section of this pivotal renewable energy project on time and on budget in December this year – and to continuing to play a keystone role in similar projects which will contribute to energy security and benefit the economy and South Africa as a whole,” he concludes.