EDDIE O'Connor's Mainstream Renewable Power has finalised a €500m-plus deal with the South African government to build a wind farm and two solar energy plants in the country.
Mainstream has just signed off on the projects and will instruct its contractors to commence the schemes this week. It hopes they will be operational by 2014. The company will build a 138 megawatt wind farm at Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape. The two solar projects – each of which will produce 50 megawatts of electricity – are both located in the Northern Cape.
Mainstream, which Mr O'Connor founded after making millions of euro from the €1.8bn sale of Airtricity to Scottish and Southern Energy in 2008, has been working on the South African projects for the past four years. It will manage the full construction programme under the supervision of a joint steering committee with Texas-based power firm Globeleq.
The US company is part of a consortium assembled by Mainstream last November, which made a bid to build the three schemes under the South African government's first ever renewable energy programme designed for independent power producers. Globeleq is a strategic equity partner in the consortium.
Mr O'Connor said the deal reinforces the position of Mainstream in South Africa.
The commencement of the projects comes just as Irish businessman Pascal Phelan's Solar Capital vehicle also won a contract to supply electricity to South Africa's grid from a 75 megawatt solar energy plant in Northern Cape. He said Solar Capital plans to develop as many as 25 solar plants in the country, where the former meat processor has lived for the past 12 years.