Rosatom signs first deal in South Africa

Johannesburg -  Russia’s state-owned Atomic Energy Corporation, Rosatom, has signed its first energy contract in South Africa for a hydro scheme in Mpumalanga.

Its Hungarian-Russian joint venture company Ganz Engineering and Energetics Machinery, signed a contract with South African partner Blue World Energy and Power Services to provide hydro-electric equipment which will be used for the installation of a small-scale power plant at Mpompomo Falls, near Barberton in Mpumalanga.

The project is set to provide 1MW of electricity.

Alexander Merten, president of the acting project integrator Rusatom International Network (RIN), said this was the first of many envisaged mini hydro projects in the Sub-Sharan African region.

“This is our first contract with Blue World, with a scope to install a low-yield hydro-electric power plant in South Africa,” he said, adding that this was just the beginning of an envisaged large-scale cooperation programme.

Rosatom will offer the plant a containerised mini-hydropower design which can carry up to 2MW.

In a statement the company said a single facility is capable of providing electricity to between 250 and 400 houses.  

“The installation requires no dam construction and causes no environmental harm to river and other reservoir ecology,” the company said. Rosatom’s compact container solution makes it possible to considerably reduce the commissioning time and cuts construction costs drastically, it explained.

It has an operational lifetime of roughly 30 years. The plant is easily controlled and monitored remotely via satellite, mobile communications network or the internet.

Gavin Carlson, Blue Water MD, said that the company is working on various potential projects in the African market.

“These mini hydro units have become our focus, as they are capable of bringing power quickly and efficiently to rural communities in Africa.

Rosatom and ourselves have made a commitment to power Africa through innovative technologies, such as mini-hydro,” he said.  

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