Empowering South Africa with Clean Energy
Within just two years, the largest clean energy power plant of South Africa has emerged out of nothing on the vast wilderness in Northern Cape. It is the 100MW Redstone concentrated solar thermal power plant constructed by POWERCHINA in South Africa, a country thousands of miles away from China.
Though miles apart, the people of China and South Africa enjoy a long-standing friendship. Thanks to Belt and Road cooperation projects such as the Redstone power plant, the two sides have deepened mutual understanding and come closer to each other through enhanced exchanges.
Relieving Power Shortage
In recent years, South Africa’s economic development has been constrained by insufficient energy supply. Power shortage has not only slowed down economic growth, but also caused the inconvenience of people’s daily life in the country.
In fact, South Africa is one of the countries most suitable for developing concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) projects in the world. Leveraging this advantage, SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Co., Ltd. under POWERCHINA constructed the Redstone CSP project in South Africa, the largest renewable energy investment project in the country. It is estimated that the project will generate about 480GWh of electricity for the country’s grid each year after it is put into operation, meeting the power demand of 200,000 local households at peak time and substantially boosting trade, investment and economic development of South Africa.
On October 20, 2022, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the construction site of the Redstone 100MW CSP project. He spoke highly of the project’s engineering quality, and expected the power project to begin operation as scheduled and further enhance friendship and mutual trust between China and South Africa.
Stimulating Local Development
John is an electric engineer at POWERCHINA’s Redstone project. Before joining the project, he was an electric technician in a small local company, and made a living on odd jobs. Since he began to work for the Redstone project, John has participated in vocational trainings on circuit analysis, circuit theory, electronic technology, and others. Soon, he grew from a grassroots technician into an indispensible electric engineer. With the increase of his income, his family’s living standards have greatly improved.
At present, there are nearly 1,000 local employees like John working with the Redstone project of POWERCHINA, which has created a large number of job opportunities for locals.
POWERCHINA actively implements a strategy of localization. Grounded on local resources in South Africa, it gives priority to local enterprises in terms of procurement and outsourcing. To date, the corporation has established partnerships with 50 sub-contractors in South Africa, forming a new industrial cluster in the locale.
Teaching Locals “How to Fish”
A Chinese proverb goes, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; Teach a man how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” To enhance local employees’ vocational skills, POWERCHINA’s Redstone project set up a welder training base. In the future, POWERCHINA will join hands with local universities to launch the “Power Plant Lecture” program, with an aim to cultivate new energy talent for South Africa’s power development.
Moreover, POWERCHINA takes an active part in the development of local communities, and always offers a helping hand to those in need in the time of crisis. One time, the head of the project received a phone call from a local community: a fire broke out in their pasture, and they needed emergency assistance. The project head immediately mobilized all resources available, and sent two spraying vehicles carrying sufficient bottled water and bread to the spot to carry out disaster relief. Eventually, the crisis was solved through joint efforts. Some local residents gave warm hugs to Chinese employees contributing to the relief effort to express their gratitude.
With the deepening friendship between the two sides, local residents aspire to an early opening of this new energy power plant. They are clearly aware that the project will provide adequate clean energy for local communities, enabling them to reduce reliance on fossil fuel while profoundly changing their lives and creating a better and more sustainable development space for future generations.
Contact: Huang Xuelai