Wind farm boosts employment

Cindy Preller

THE foundations have been laid for 12 of the 60 wind turbines to be erected between Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp.

Construction of the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, which at its full capacity is expected to supply renewable electricity to power more than 114100 homes, is expected to be completed by mid May next year.

During a site visit yesterday, Kouga mayor Booi Koerat said he was impressed with the progress made thus far and was excited to see the first blades of the turbines turning soon in the Kouga region. This is expected in August.

“We have already seen that unemployment in the community has been alleviated with the project. At least seven of our wards have benefited from the wind farm project and with the creation of jobs, food is being put on the table of the community,” Koerat said.

Project manager Leo Quinn said about 330 jobs would be created with the construction of the wind turbines. The 138MW of electricity generated by the 60 turbines will be directed to substations, constructed by the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, and will ideally feed into the existing Eskom power grid.

The aim of the project is to provide clean electricity for the government’s renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme (Reippp).

“Our turbines are being constructed in agricultural land and even on a neighbouring game farm. Soon we will be in the unique position of having our wind turbines generating electricity next to zebras and other wild animals,” said Quinn.

To avoid interfering turbulence, the turbines were being constructed between 300m and 500m apart. Farmers or landowners entered into a lease agreement with the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm to allow for the construction of the turbines on their land.

Adjustments to widen the surrounding national roads had been made, as well as dirt roads in the agricultural land constructed to accommodate the transportation of the massive blades, which are 50m long, to the turbine sites.

The total height of one of these wind turbines, after being fully constructed, will be 150m.

The wind farm is owned by a consortium of companies, which includes Mainstream Renewable Power South Africa (involved with the construction and operational phase of the project).

Some of the suppliers contracted to the wind farm include Siemens Wind Power, Murray and Roberts Construction as well as Consolidated Power Projects.

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