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RENEWABLE ENERGY

Old Mutual Hybrid Equity buys 35% of TotalEnergies Hydra Storage Project

Old Mutual Hybrid Equity buys 35% of TotalEnergies Hydra Storage Project
Signage outside the offices of Old Mutual bank in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images) | Solar panels. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla) | Signage for TotalEnergies. (Photo: Benjamin Girette / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

'This venture marks a significant milestone in South Africa’s journey towards sustainable energy,’ says director of Hydra HoldCo.

In a significant boost to South Africa’s renewable energy sector, Old Mutual Alternative Investments (Omai) recently announced a substantial investment in the country’s energy infrastructure of about R158-million through its Hybrid Equity division. 

The project is being developed by a consortium of TotalEnergies (35%), Hydra Storage Holding¹ (35%) and a BBBEE2 partner, Reatile Renewables (30%). 

Mujaahid Hassan, co-head of hybrid equity at Omai, says Old Mutual Hybrid Equity has committed preference share funding to Hydra HoldCo, enabling the acquisition of a 35% equity stake in the TotalEnergies Hydra Storage Project. 

The Hydra Storage Project, a hybrid 216MWp solar photovoltaic facility with 497MWh battery energy storage, promises substantial social and economic benefits, including increased dispatchable renewable power generation, job creation and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Combining solar energy with battery power means the plant will be able to generate power for 16.5 hours a day, at 75MW right through that period. Power would be produced specifically from 5am to 9.30pm, covering the typical peak use periods.

The project comprises three co-located sites in the Northern Cape that will have a contracted capacity of 75MW at the delivery point from which energy is dispatched to the national transmission grid. 

Construction has kicked off, with the project expected to create about 700 job opportunities during construction and about 1,198 job opportunities during operations (measured in job years). 

Hassan says management has committed to spend just over R240-million on enterprise, skills and socioeconomic development initiatives within communities close to De Aar, where the project is located.

“This venture marks a significant milestone in South Africa’s journey towards sustainable energy,” says Christopher Aberdein, director of Hydra HoldCo. 

“The Hydra Storage Project represents more than an investment; it’s a leap forward in our country’s energy independence and sustainability.”

Omai, a key player in the investment landscape, has driven innovative and impactful solutions across various sectors. With this latest venture, Omai reiterates its commitment to advancing South Africa’s renewable energy capabilities.

The sponsor’s first bid on the RMIPPPP was issued by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on 24 August 2020. The project was granted preferred bidder status on 18 March 2021 and reached financial close in December 2023. The RMIPPPP was designed to alleviate supply constraints by procuring 2,000MW from a range of technologies that could be bid together to form one project. 

The project is expected to be online by the third quarter of next year. 

Once it is operational, the site will supply dispatchable renewable electricity to the national grid for 20 years, equivalent to over 400GWh per year. DM

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  • peter selwaski says:

    Wow! Providing power for a full 16.5 hours per day. Will people not need power for the remaining 15.5 hours? Green energy won’t cut it. Go to nuclear power and join the civilized world.

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