Last week, the Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape commenced commercial operation, feeding clean power into the national electricity grid.
The wind farm, which comprises of 31 turbines and has a 95MW generation capacity, will not only contribute towards strengthening the grid, but towards uplifting the surrounding community as well.
According to The Herald, it was agreed that 2.1% of revenue will be earmarked towards socio-economic development and rental of the land where the turbines are sited.
Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm
According to local news agency, eNCA, the farm was the dream of the founder of Watt Energy, the late Mcebisi Mike Msizi, and his family welcomes its realisation.
His widow, Florence, said at the inauguration: “Even my husband in his grave, the dream is coming now, because the project now is over.”
Speaking at the inauguration, Deputy Energy Minister Thembisile Majola said the project was a milestone in the department’s drive to establish a viable energy mix for the country.
“This project is not just about profit — it is making a difference in the lives of the local community and the sustainability of the planet through developing clean energy, ”Majola said.
The minister added: “The aim is meaningful participation for the local people so they are not just recipients. We’re hoping to see people move beyond menial jobs as they become part of this process. From here, we say – the sky’s the beginning”.
The project was developed under round 2 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), which was implemented by the Department of Energy in 2011.
In 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between a consortium consisting of a number of key partners – the Tsitsikamma Development Trust, Watt Energy and Cennergi (a 50:50 joint venture between miner Exxaro Resources and Tata Power), which own 9%, 16% and 75% respectively in the project.
The balance is jointly held by the Danish Industrialisation Fund for Developing Countries, which was responsible for coordinating the funding of the project, and Danish independent power producer European Energy.
More wind for SA grid
In other wind-related news, the Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm, which was developed under the second bid window of South Africa’s renewable energy independent power programme, came online early last month.
Making this the second wind project under round 2 for Indian integrated power company, Cennergi, CEO and managing director of Tata Power, Anil Sardana, said: “The commissioning of Amakhala Wind farm, Tata Power’s first wind project outside India, marks the company’s continued progress on its objectives of enhancing non-fossil based generation portfolio up to 30-40% of its total generating capacity and thereby creating value for its stakeholders.
“We would further like to thank the Department of Energy, Republic of South Africa, Eskom, our partners Exxaro Resources, Nordex (our WTG supplier), lenders to the project and all the community stakeholders for their contribution towards successful implementation of this project.”