Addressing the fourth annual POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa conference in Sandton, the joint venture responsible for implementing the 685 MW Avon Peaking Power Plant said the plant had completed its final phase of commissioning and reached the COD milestone last week.
The independent Avon Peaking Power gas turbine open cycle power plant near Durban is officially online, its developers announced at POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa.
Avon is the second Independent Power Producer (IPP) project in South Africa by the joint venture between France’s Engie, South Africa’s Legend Power Solutions, Japan’s Mitsui & Co and The Peaker Trust. The first of the group’s local projects, the 342 MW gas-fired Dedisa Peaking Power plant in Port Elizabeth, went into commercial operation last year, selling power to Eskom under a 15-year power purchase agreement. The plants are the first large-scale independent thermal plants to be developed in South Africa outside of Eskom.
The consortium comprising Ansaldo Energia and Fata S.p.A. received the Notice to Proceed (NTP) on engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the projects in September 2013, with Ansaldo managing civil works, power island supply, construction and commissioning and Fata managing engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the BOP and electro-mechanical installation works (including cabling, piping, Demi Sys, fire fighting, HVAC, and substation).
As highlighted by Fata Project Director, Italo Ballestrelli, only 22 months after the contractual Notice to Proceed, the consortium succeeded in respecting the commercial operation date, with Dedisa Unit 1 becoming the first synchronisation injecting electric power into the national grid in June 2015.
“It was an historic moment, because it was the first thermal electric power generation into the South African grid made by an IPP,” notes Elisa Prato, project manager for Fata S.p.A. “In light of the success of these two plants we are optimistic about the potential for future IPP projects through our branch presence in South Africa."
“The accomplishment of this mission had a great strategic relevance for power generation and for the improvement of the South African grid stability,” she says.
Both Elisa Prato and Fabio Pelizza, project manager for Ansaldo Energia, said while certain challenges had been experienced in the construction and commissioning of the Dedisa plant, the fact that Dedisa was located in the Zone 13 of the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) and close to a port had worked in the developers’ favour. Effective project stakeholder management, a holistic approach to labour project management, and partnership with engineering resources in a partnership with the Aurecon Group and Jones & Wagner had also contributed to the successful outcome, they say.