French energy company TotalEnergies has announced plans to build a hybrid renewables project in South Africa.

The new project will consist of a 216MW solar plant and a 500MWh battery storage system covering intermittent energy production.

Located in the Northern Cape province, the new site will supply the South African national grid with electricity for twenty years. The solar plant will be built by a consortium comprising TotalEnergies (35%), Hydra Storage Holding (35%) and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (30%), a programme launched by the South African government in 2003 to remedy the inequalities caused by the apartheid regime.

The government in Pretoria has been facing widespread energy shortages as a result of poor management and corruption allegations made against Eskom, the country’s state power company. The solar plant will supply 75MW of dispatchable power to Eskom every day from 5AM to 9:30PM under the Power Purchase Agreement signed in November.

In 2022, energy cuts reduced South Africa’s GDP growth by 2-3%. In October, the World Bank offered the country a $1bn Development Policy Loan to solve its ongoing energy crisis as well as expand investment in the renewable energy sector.

The announcement comes after TotalEnergies signed a $27bn energy agreement with Iraq in July. That deal will strengthen the government’s ability to increase oil production, as well as expand the use of gas and renewables as part of the country’s energy mix.

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Vincent Stoquart, senior vice president of Renewables at TotalEnergies, said: “Together with our partners, we are pleased to launch this major solar power generation and storage project in South Africa.

“Thanks to its innovative hybrid design, it will enable us to supply continuous green electricity over a longer period and beyond the hours of sunshine. This project will not only contribute to the country’s energy transition but also to strengthening the resilience of its power system.”