17 July 2013 – The balance of plant subcontract for the 80 MW Kouga wind farm at Oyster Bay in the Eastern Cape has been awarded to Actom’s substation construction wing. The R150 million contract, awarded in April 2013 by Nordex Energy, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project, encompasses the design and turnkey provision of the electrical installation from the base of the wind turbine generators (WTGs) up to the Eskom point of connection for the power generated by the Kouga wind farm’s 32 x 2.5 MW WTGs.

It comprises mounting 0,66/33 kV compact substations at the base of each WTG, installing 111 km of single-phase MV cable for the collector network and building a 33/132 kV step-up substation at the point of connection with Eskom’s distribution network.

The Kouga wind farm is one of eight wind energy facilities approved under the first round of the South African government’s Independent Power Producers Renewable Energy Programme launched in November 2012 and comprising a total of 28 wind and solar projects earmarked to increment the highly stressed national grid with 1,400 MW of power generation capacity.

All the substation equipment required for the contract, which is scheduled for completion in November 2014, is being manufactured and/or supplied from within the Actom group. These  include two 60 MVA power transformers, 33 kV indoor gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) and 132 kV substation equipment, the substation automation and control system, the WTG transformers, the compact substations and the battery tripping units.

CBI Electric, which is not an Actom company, is subcontracted to supply the medium voltage cable for the collector network.
 
John McClure, Actom Power Systems’ general manager says, “An overall local content minimum target of 45% applies in the case of the round one projects and this requirement is set to increase progressively as new windows are introduced annually.”

Other key factors that counted in Actom Power Systems’ favour in being selected for the balance of plant contract for the Kouga wind farm were its broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) credentials and its ability to contribute towards the project’s economic development obligations which relate to the likes of focussed job creation, small business development and advancing the interest of women-owned businesses.

“However, the commercial and technical approach to wind energy projects is new to our fledgling renewable industry, so we devoted a lot of effort beforehand familiarising ourselves and aligning our offering with market expectations,” McClure explains. “We were given invaluable advice and assistance in this regard by Nordex Energy, with their extensive experience of such projects worldwide. We in turn were able to reciprocate with some information pertaining to South African peculiarities and norms.”