Construction begins at South Africa’s 7-MW Bethlehem sites

Bethlehem Hydro (Pty) Ltd. announced construction has begun on its 7-MW hydropower project in South Africa’s Free State.

The project includes two small plants, 3-MW As River and 4-MW Sol Plaatje Dam (formerly referred to as Saulpoort Dam) near Bethlehem. (HNN 3/21/06) Construction is to be completed in late 2007 with full commissioning in February 2008.

The 67 million rand (US$9.1 million) project is financed by a loan from Development Bank of Southern Africa and equity investments by NuPlanet BV of the Netherlands, CEF, and Hydrowsa.

Bethlehem awarded a construction contract to Eigenbau (Pty) Ltd. (South Africa). Boving Fouress Ltd. of India is to supply Kaplan turbines and balance of plant equipment. Consulting engineering firm Ninham Shand is project manager, while Merz and McLellan is consulting electrical engineer and BWG Hydro is mechanical engineer.

Bethlehem Hydro contracted with NUPlanet to manage project development. NuPlanet also is contributing US$6.5 million to project development.

Bethlehem is to utilize outflow of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project to generate a total of 35 gigawatt-hours annually for sale to the town of Bethlehem. Statkraft (Netherlands) is to purchase 33,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions credits under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism.

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