Nxuba Wind Farm in action. Image credit: Nxuba Wind Farm

With the commissioning of its final wind turbine at 140MW Nxuba Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, Enel Green Power (EGP) commenced with the generation and delivery of energy, despite challenges attributed to COVID-19 containment measures and national lockdown.

The Nxuba Wind Farm is one of five projects awarded to EGP South Africa in the fourth round of the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) and, once the commissioning of all the wind turbines is complete, will enable the full production of 460GWh  per year to the grid.

“Nxuba Wind Farm is yet another example of EGP’s commitment to renewables and sustainability in South Africa and globally. We are particularly excited about unlocking the potential of the abundant renewable energy sources in South Africa, as well as supporting the local economy”, said William Price, head of EGP in South Africa.

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Price explained that the pre-assembly stage involves the installation of as many as 17 concrete tower keystones (portion of sections). This is followed by the main erection of the structure that includes the installation of the five preassembled tower sections and other related operations (horizontal joints and tensioning cables) which can take up to two weeks to complete in optimal weather conditions.

According to EGP, the completion of the project amounted to 2 million man-hours with zero incidents and involved a significant skills transfer element.

The renewables company enlisted the services of individuals and small to medium enterprises from the Blue Crane Route and Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipalities, which comprise Adelaide, Cookhouse, Somerset East and Bedford, to help construct the plant.