The 96.48 MW De Aar and the 138.96 MW De Aar 2 North wind projects have successfully reached early operations and have been connected to the Hydra transmission substation.
The projects, located near De Aar, in the Northern Cape, were selected as preferred bidders under Round 3 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
“The construction phase of the projects proved to be a technical and logistical challenge,” stated project developer, the Longyuan Mulilo consortium, noting that the 163 wind turbine generator hubs, nacelles, blades and towers were manufactured in China by United Power Company and Titan Towers.
The components were then shipped to the Port of Ngqura before being transported inland to De Aar. A total of 1 600 abnormal loads were used to transport the wind turbines and ancillary components between Coega and the construction sites.
Along with the installation of the turbines, a substantial amount of infrastructure is required to successfully operate a wind facility.
A combined 150 km of internal access roads were built, while 170 km of internal 33 kV overhead electrical reticulation lines were installed and 45 km of 132 kV transmission line. Two substations were also built to connect the wind energy facilities to the Hydra transmission substation.
About R5-billion in capital was spent on the projects, with the senior debt provided by Nedbank Capital and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).
The IDC also assisted in providing funding for the local community trust and black economic empowered shareholders.
The two wind energy facilities are owned by a consortium comprising Longyuan Power Group, Mulilo Renewable Energy, DLO Energy Resources, Sula Energy and a local community trust.