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Investment seeks to advance SA’s renewable energy capabilities

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 19 Dec 2023
Old Mutual Alternative Investments invests in solar power storage project.
Old Mutual Alternative Investments invests in solar power storage project.

Old Mutual Alternative Investments (OMAI) has announced a R158 million investment in the country’s energy infrastructure through its Hybrid Equity division.

The investment announcement follows calls made by African leaders at COP28 for significantly increased climate action and green growth financing across the continent.

In a statement, Old Mutual says Hybrid Equity has committed preference share funding to Hydra HoldCo, enabling the acquisition of a 35% equity stake in the TotalEnergies Hydra Storage Project.

The Hydra Storage Project, a hybrid 216MWp solar photovoltaic facility with 497MWh Battery Energy Storage, promises social and economic benefits, including increased dispatchable renewable power generation, job creation, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The project comprises three co-located sites in the Northern Cape that will have a contracted capacity of 75MW at the delivery point from which energy is dispatched to the national transmission grid.

Hybrid Equity co-head Mujaahid Hassan comments that the project addresses the immediate challenges of load-shedding and aligns with the nation's climate change objectives.

“The project is on track for construction to begin this side of the year,” says Hassan.

“This venture marks a significant milestone in South Africa’s journey towards sustainable energy,” adds Hydra HoldCo director Christopher Aberdein. “The Hydra Storage Project represents more than an investment; it’s a leap forward in our country's energy independence and sustainability.”

The sponsor’s first bid on the RMIPPPP was issued by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on 24 August 2020. The project was granted preferred bidder status on 18 March 2021 and reached financial close in December 2023. The RMIPPPP was designed to alleviate supply constraints by procuring 2 000MW from a range of technologies that could be bid together to form one project.

Aberdein notes OMAI’s investment in the project is not just a financial endorsement but a strong statement of support for South Africa’s renewable energy ambitions.

“As the country continues to navigate the challenges of load-shedding and climate change, such strategic investments are crucial in shaping a sustainable and resilient energy future,” he concludes.

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