21 May 2013 – The green light has been given for Eskom’s R2.4 billion Sere wind farm project, which is anticipated to be in full commercial operation by the end of 2014.

The Sere wind farm, located in the Vredendal area of the Western Cape, will generate up to 100 MW of power for the national grid. The project has been funded by a group of development finance institutions, including the World Bank, African Development Bank, Clean Technology Fund and Agence Francaise de Developpement.

The levelised cost of the Sere plant compares favourably with the average of R1.14/kWh for the independent power producers procured in phase one of the South African department of energy’s renewable energy procurement programme and the 89.7 c/kWh in phase two, reflecting Eskom’s lower cost of capital.

Eskom’s Sere wind farm will comprise 46 Siemens 2.3-108 wind turbine generators and is expected to deliver first power to the national grid in the first half of 2014, with full commercial operation scheduled by the end of 2014. The project includes construction of a new substation and a 132 KV distribution line. It will create approximately up to 170 direct jobs during the construction phase.

It has an expected operating life of 20 years, with average annual energy production of about 233,000 MWh, enough to power about 97,000 standard homes.

Alongside the Sere project, Eskom has a 100 MW concentrating solar plant (CSP) project near Upington in the Northern Cape, which also has funding from development finance institutions. It has also installed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to provide auxiliary power at its head office and at two of its coal-fired power stations, with a view to rolling out solar PV across other facilities.