In South Africa yesterday, a ground-breaking ceremony took place at the Noupoort Wind Farm, which is one of the first to start construction as part of the third round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
This Northern Cape project, expected to start commercial operation by mid-2016, is located 11 km from the Eskom 132kV overhead line, which the wind farm will loop into.
Mainstream Renewable Power, a global wind and solar company, stated that the 80MW Noupoort Wind Farm will comprise of 35 wind turbines when completed.
The wind farm is expected to generate approximately 305,000MWh each year of renewable energy to the national grid.
When operating at full capacity, it is expected to supply enough electricity to power approximately 70,000 average South African homes and avoid roughly 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, explained a company statement.
The wind turbines
The turbines will be supplied by global manufacturer Siemens Wind Power, with the 99m turbine towers to be the first manufactured at the new Gestamp Wind Turbine Tower Factory in Atlantis, Western Cape.
The blades, hubs and nacelles that compose the wind turbines, will arrive via the N10 from the Port of Ngqura, in Coega, while the towers will be routed along the N1 from Atlantis. Delivery of the turbines is due to commence in October this year.
Civil and electrical works are to be completed by a consortium comprised of South African engineering and construction services company, Murray and Roberts Construction and Consolidated Power Projects.
Wind farm consortium
Noupoort Wind Farm is owned by a consortium led by Lekela Power, a joint venture between Actis, and Mainstream Renewable Power.
Other members include Thebe Investment Corporation; The IDEAS Managed Fund; Futuregrowth Asset Management; Genesis Eco-Energy in partnership with Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital; and the Noupoort Renewable Energy Trust, which was established with the objective of carrying out public benefit activities to assist the local community through economic development.
In addition to the Noupoort Wind Farm, Mainstream is currently constructing another two wind farms in the Northern Cape, totalling 360MW and representing an investment of approximately $722 million (ZAR9 billion).
Local job creation
Martina Flanagan, project manager of Noupoort Wind Farm, said: “As the Noupoort Wind Farm is being built on an undeveloped site surrounding a small rural community [Umsobomvu Local Municipality], it will help boost the local economy and have a positive impact on the community.
“Already… with 162 locals working on the roads, electrical works and foundations for the wind turbines, a number of foundations have been cast to date. Employment of local labour will continue throughout the construction period.”