More wind farms on cards for East Cape

Cindy Preller

ANOTHER wind farm is due to be constructed this year – this time in the easternKaroo.

Irish-based renewable energy company Mainstream Renewable Power, who are involved in the nearcomplete Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, this week announced it would start another project this year.

It would be at the Noupoort Wind Farm, near the Eastern CapeNorthern Cape border, close to Middelburg.

Construction is due to start in the third quarter and the installation will have a generating capacity of 80MW. A total of 35 turbines will be erected. The proposed Karoo wind farm forms part of a R9-billion investment into South Africa by Mainstream to construct three wind farms, with a total electricity generating capacity of 360MW, enough to power 300000 homes.

The other two wind farms are Khobab Wind Farm and Loeriesfontein 2 Wind Farm in the Northern Cape, each with 60 turbines.

Mainstream said it would be involved in a total of eight green energy projects in SA, Scotland, Chile and Canada, which once operational would generate electricity to power more than half a million homes. The combined value of all eight projects is about R47-billion, Mainstream chief executive Eddie O’Connor says.

“Our combined projects put almost 300MW into construction last year and we have an even larger portfolio of late-stage projects ready to go into construction next year,” O’Connor said.

Mainstream was involved in three South African projects in the first round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme.

At Jeffreys Bay, several completed turbines have already started supplying electricity to the local grid, while two solar projects at De Aar and Droogfontein in the Northern Cape are nearing completion.

“All of these projects have the finance in place, planning permissions received and grid connections are being finalised.

“We took an early position in South Africa and Chile almost five years ago, long before many of our competitors did. Identifying market opportunities and our willingness to take an early lead are among our key strengths, and those decisions are now starting to pay dividends,” O’Connor said.

Ten of the 60 Jeffreys Bay turbines started supplying power to the grid last month, while the MetroWind Van Stadens Wind Farm, was the first Eastern Cape wind farm to be fully commissioned.

The Cookhouse farm, which at 66 turbines is the biggest in the province, is set to come online at the end of May while it is planned that the Kouga Wind Farm plans operational in the final quarter of this year.

Last November, it was announced that two more wind farms would be constructed after preferred bidders had been chosen.

One will be constructed by Red Cap Investments at Gibson Bay in the Kouga Municipality and the other by African Clean Energy Developments at Cookhouse in the Blue Crane Municipality.

Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism MEC Mcebisi Jonas described the announcement as “further evidence that the Eastern Cape is fast becoming an African leader in renewable energy wind farms”.


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