On Friday, the South African state-owned power utility, Eskom, celebrated the first year since its 100MW wind farm in Vredendal started feeding power into the national electricity grid. The Sere Wind Farm is the utility’s first utility-scale renewable energy project, which first came online in October 2014.
According to the power company, the project reached completion on time and within budget, “with a safety record in line with Eskom’s Zero Harm policy, and without any environmental legal contraventions or incidents of industrial action.”
Reaching commercial operation
In April this year, Eskom announced that the wind farm reached its full commercial operation, contributing to saving nearly 6 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over its 20 years’ expected operating life.
The utility’s chief executive, Brian Molefe said that this project has an average annual energy production of about 298,000MWh, enough to supply about 124,000 standard homes.
Eskom said in a statement: “Sere demonstrates our commitment to renewable energy, diversifying our energy mix and reducing our carbon footprint.”
With the wind farm’s first wind turbine erected in December 2013, all of its 46 turbines are now in full operation.
“Although Sere has been feeding available power into the grid since October 2014, it achieved the target nominal generating capacity of 100MW on 27 January 2015,” the utility added.
Introducing solar PV
In addition to the Sere wind farm Eskom is involved in the development of a 100MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant near Upington in the Northern Cape.
The project financiers include the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Clean Technology Fund, and Agence Française de Développement.
Eskom claims that the CSP project will save an estimated 450,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over its lifetime.
The utility added that it continues to work on the photovoltaic (PV) rollout at its “existing administration buildings, power stations and transmission substations, and also on solar augmentation where existing power stations are hybridised with solar thermal energy.
“Project Ilanga, Eskom’s PV project, is expected to add 150MWp by 2017/18, of which 2,35MWp has been installed.”