Belgium’s largest renewable energy producer, Electrawinds Belgium, is planning to build a R1,2-billion wind farm in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), in the Eastern Cape.
The company is currently finalising a feasibility study for setting up the commercial wind farm, the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) announced on Friday.
The wind farm project would see about 25 wind turbines, of 2,3 MW each, being built in the Coega IDZ.
The project would be fully operational by 2011, but Electrawinds plans to have the first turbine in place by May next year – before the start of the FIFA World Cup.
Electrawinds has appointed the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to conduct the environmental-assessment study for the project.
“The single wind turbine and wind measuring mast in phase one require that a basic assessment is undertaken, with this process having commenced in August,” said CSIR environmental assistant Paul Lochner.
Energy Minister Dipuo Peters recently said that South Africa seeks to commission 400 MW of wind power by independent power producers within the next three years.
The country has a target of installing 10 000 GWh of renewable energy capacity by 2013.
RENEWABLE ENERGY SKILLS POOL
Meanwhile, Electrawinds announced that it would offer educational scholarships to top local students who were interested in furthering their studies in renewable energy.
“We want to invest in both turbines and people. We want to give young people in the region a chance at the right education so that, in time, they will be able to monitor our projects in South Africa,” said Electrawinds business development director Jan Dewulf.
He said that Electrawind would fully manage the training programme and would also be responsible for selecting the students, in consultation with the CDC.
These students would be referred to South African universities that offered suitable programmes and for those who wish to specialise further there was a postgraduate programme offered in Europe.
Emil Unger who represents Electrawinds in South Africa said that the implementation of the education programme would ensure that the country had a pool from which to draw qualified renewable energy specialists, something that currently did not exist.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb
Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online
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