In mid-October 2013 construction of the R1.2 billion Grassridge wind energy facility in Nelson Mandela Bay officially began. The Grassridge wind farm forms part of the South African department of energy’s (DoE’s) renewable energy independent power producer procurement (REIPPP) programme and is being established at PPC’s Grassridge quarry. It is one of the first renewable energy projects developed on an operating quarry in South Africa.
InnoWind, a local wind energy developer owned by EDF Energies Nouvelles is undertaking the project. The wind farm is owned by Grassridge Wind Power, a project company which comprises of InnoWind, the Industrial Development Corporation and the Grassridge Winds of Change Community Trust (a local development trust representing the interests of the Motherwell community).
This facility will consist of 20 Vestas V-112 3MW wind turbines, with an installed capacity of 61.5 MW, delivering electricity equivalent to the annual consumption of approximately 40,000 households (160,000 people). The development is the first phase of possible future wind farm expansions in its vicinity.
According to Egmont Ottermann, group energy manager at PPC, the wind farm forms part of the cement company’s long-term rehabilitation plans for the mine. “This project is the first step in procuring power from renewable sources.”
PPC and InnoWind are in discussions for a second phase, 24 MW wind farm under a bilateral power purchase agreement. When commissioned, this farm will supply 10% of PPC’s electrical energy requirements in South Africa.