Co-founder of G7 Renewable Energies and Director of Oya Energy (Pty) Ltd, Dr Killian Hagemann, welcomed the announcement today by the South African Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), Min. Gwede Mantashe, of the winners of the Government’s Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP).

Developed by G7 Renewable Energies, the 128MW Oya Energy Hybrid Facility in the Karoo was awarded Preferred Bidder status. “This is an important milestone for G7. We are incredibly proud of our team and grateful for the support of our world-class partners.” Dr Hagemann said. “It validates our ability to pivot our expertise to develop cutting edge hybrid renewable energy projects in South Africa. After years of G7 spearheading the wind energy industry in the country, the unique opportunity of the RMIPPPP – to provide reliable, low cost, on demand power to South Africa – challenged us to pioneer beyond conventional parameters.”

The Oya project is a unique hybrid facility that will be offering dispatchable renewable energy to Eskom. Oya Energy (Pty) Ltd will own and operate the 128 MW plant near the town of Matjiesfontein, straddling the Western and Northern Cape Provinces. Oya will be one of the largest hybrid energy projects in Africa and is unique in the world in terms of technology mix, size, and price. The Oya Energy Hybrid Project will utilise co-located wind turbines, solar PV arrays, Lithium-Ion batteries and a hybrid controller that orchestrates all three technologies to provide dispatchable power to the grid as and when needed.

Dr Hagemann added: “The Oya project matches and exceeds governments expectations as it is extremely competitive while still complying with all strict requirements set by the IPP office and its advisors, guaranteeing full compliance in terms of South African regulations. Value for money has played a key role in the design choices and operational philosophy and we look forward to the successful completion of the project.”

He further explained that “With Oya we are pushing the boundaries of what renewable energy can provide to electricity grids not only in South Africa but around the world. While in the last few years these technologies have proven to be the cheapest form of generation, some observers continue to criticise wind and solar for its lack of reliability and dependability, especially at times when the grid is under strain. Through its unique combination of co-located wind turbines and PV arrays with a large battery, Oya can provide some power on demand at a lower cost than flexible gas projects and practically without harmful CO2 or other emissions, bringing us closer to our 2050 vision of powering South Africa’s electricity grid on 100% renewables.”

As early as 2009, G7 Renewable Energies (Pty) Ltd identified and secured various high potential sites across the country with the help of its ground-breaking first comprehensive wind map of the country based on a mesoscale model. The key strength of Oya’s location is its natural resources together with relative proximity to the national grid. The project also falls within the Komsberg Renewable Energy Development Zone (REDZ).

G7 Director Nicolas Rolland said that the site was selected after years of an extensive and rigorous investigation. “The ideal site comprises several factors such as wind and solar resources and their complementarity, suitable topography, grid proximity and capacity, accessibility, as well as limited environmental and permitting constraints,” he said. “Oya embraces all aspects of the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, acknowledging that the programme aims to act as a key driver for long term economic development in the local communities.”

Construction of the Oya Energy Hybrid Project should start before the end of 2021 with a fast-tracked completion date of no longer than 18 months thereafter to help ease South Africa’s power crisis.