Wind farm investment bears fruit

Wind farm - [Google Images]

Construction worth R6.6 billion on two wind farms with a combined capacity of 250MW, one in the Western Cape and the other in the Northern Cape, is set to bring much-needed investment to the communities of the respective areas.

Global wind and solar firm Mainstream Renewable Power announced on Tuesday that it had successfully completed the financial close for the wind farms.

A consortium led by Mainstream was awarded the contracts for the wind farms by the Department of Energy under the fourth round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (Reipppp).

Construction is expected to begin this month for the 140MW Kangnas Wind Farm, located near Springbok in the Northern Cape, and the 110MW Perdekraal East Wind Farm, located 80km north-east of Ceres.

Mainstream has been awarded a total of 848MW – including its two latest wind farms – of wind and solar projects under the procurement programme since the first round in 2011.

The firm has already delivered five wind and solar PV plants into commercial operation under the programme, with a combined generation capacity of almost 600MW, and has bid for a number additional wind and solar PV projects under the Expedited Round 4, whose results are expected to be announced shortly.

Hein Reyneke, Mainstream’s general manager for Africa, said the company’s South African team was excited to start constructing the two projects, which will bring a R1.1bn community investment over 20 years once the plants start operating in 2020.

“Importantly, we are looking forward to the results of the expedited fourth round of the Reipppp being announced soon, as well as further rounds, which are vital to securing a sustainable, long-term, least-cost energy plan for the country.

“Mainstream is making a significant contribution to building South Africa’s low-cost and low-carbon power system, whilst boosting rural communities,” Reyneke said.

Meanwhile, the Nordex Group in South Africa recently announced that it had been awarded a 147MW contract following the recent signing of power purchase agreements after a long delay.

The contract is for the installation of the wind farm “Roggeveld” near Laingsburg, which will commence next year, and is set to create about 700 jobs in the construction and operation of the wind farm.

According to Nordex, through a broad-based approach, the job creation will benefit local communities and improve the country’s carbon footprint as it reduces by about 24000 tons carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production each year.