27 June 2013 – Eskom’s R2.4 billion 100 MW Sere wind farm facility due to be in full commercial operation by the end of 2014 is located in a good wind resource area at Skaapvlei Farm within the Matzikama municipality, in the Western Cape of South Africa.

Eskom chief executive Brian Dames says. “Sere is our first large scale renewable energy project.” Sere takes its name from the Nama word for cool breeze. 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.

Eskom says that 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 for phase two, reflecting Eskom’s lower cost of capital. The total overnight cost of the Sere project (calculated at US$2,516/kWh) is within International Energy Agency benchmarks.

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 about 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 clean energy to power about 97,000 standard homes.

Alongside the Sere project, Eskom has a 100 MW concentrating solar plant project near Upington in the Northern Cape, which also has funding from development finance institutions. It has also installed solar photovoltaic 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.