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South Africa: Bethlehem hydro commissioning delayed by 3 months

The completion of South Africa's first commercial independent hydropower project, the Bethlehem hydro scheme, in the Free State, has been delayed till May 2008.
Bethlehem Hydro and NuPlanet MD Anton-Louis Olivier said that the full commissioning of the 7-MW hydro scheme had been postponed from February 2008, to May 2008.

The three-month setback related, mainly, to a delay in gaining access to the Sol Plaatje site on which the company was building the hydro scheme.

The tender process that the Dihlabeng local municipality followed to sell the Sol Plaatje site to the company had slowed down the development, as have the weather conditions.

The temporary setback was having a “severe impact” on the R75-million project’s financing and will result in a reduction of income in 2008, including three month’s less revenue for carbon credits. Selling carbon credits would contribute to about one quarter of the hydroscheme’s revenue.

But, while the project had been delayed by a couple of months, it was not all bad news, and Olivier said that the first shipment for the turbines had already left India.

Bethlehem Hydro will source its turbines for the 3-MW and 4-MW plants, being built on the As and Sol Plaatje dam, from Boving Fouress, from India. The company was, initially, concerned that the turbines would not be supplied on time, he said.

Construction, which started in December 2006, had progressed, and as of July, about one third of the project’s construction had been completed.

Additional information:
News date: 07/09/2007

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