Riemvasmaak Hydropower Station, South Africa

To increase the capacity of energy production in the Northern Cape, RVM 1 Hydro Electric Power (Pty) Ltd plans to construct a 40 MW hydropower station in the Orange River.

This run-of-river hydropower station entails the generation of electricity through harnessing the power of naturally flowing water and will be situated northwest of the town of Kakamas in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.

More specifically, the proposed project is located on the braided river 2 to 4 km north of the main Augrabies Falls channel on the privately owned Riemvasmaak Farm as well as on a portion of SANParks land, both of which are sited within the Augrabies Falls National Park.

Aurecon was appointed to undertake the requisite Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as required in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998), on behalf of the client.

The assessment is scheduled to be completed in July 2014, with Aurecon’s scope of services including:

  • Legislation and policy review
  • Strategic review
  • Public consultation
  • EIA coordination and facilitation
  • Consultation with various flora, aquatic ecology, visual and heritage specialists

In addition, a sustainability assessment has been included in this EIA as a result of the station being located in a national park. Accordingly, the sustainability of and impact on the environment of renewable energy has to be evaluated.

Should the EIA be approved, it will allow the client to construct and operate the proposed hydropower station and will afford the Riemvasmaak community the opportunity to become shareholders in this project.

When in operation, the station will enable electricity generation closer to the area of demand. This will reduce the loss of energy through transmission and result in cost savings. Furthermore, the station will aid in balancing South Africa’s energy grid as most of the country’s current electricity generation is located in the northern provinces such as Gauteng, Mpumalanga, etc.

Importantly, the project will be submitted for consideration as part of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement programme (REIPPP). Should the project be approved to fall under the REIPPP, benefits to the local community will be expanded as this programme requires the identification and implementation of uplifting, community-based projects at the various sites where projects are implemented.

If you would like to know more about the ongoing EIA process, please visit our public participation page here.

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