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Aug 20, 2012

Eskom expects first Sere wind unit to be operating by late 2013

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Power utility Eskom has submitted a licence application to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) for its proposed 100 MW Sere wind farm project, to be developed near Vredendal, in the Western Cape, for around R3-billion.

The final capital costs will be determined by bids received in a tender process for a wind turbine supply and installation (S&I) contract and several ancillary contracts. The selection of an S&I Contractor is expected to take place by October 2012.

Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe says the bids have been received and are being evaluated in accordance with the criteria contained in the tender documents.

Should Eskom receive the 20-year sanction being sought, the first unit could be operational by October 2013, with the final unit being installed by May 2014.

Members of the public have been invited to lodge written objections to the proposed development and Nersa, which received the application on July 31, will publish a date for a public hearing in due course.

The project, which is backed partly by a portion of a $3.75-billion World Bank loan extended in 2010, would involve turbines with capacities of between 1.5 MW and 3 MW each.

The development will also receive funding from the Clean Technology Fund, the African Development Bank and Agence Française de Développement, with the balance being derived from internal revenue sources.

The utility has requested that its licence become effective from October 2012 and says it does not envisage seeking an expansion, owing to the fact that a site wind-resource assessment indicates the potential for such an expansion to be negligible.

Eskom modelling anticipates that the project will be able to produce 225 000 MWh a year from 2014, of which 202 500 MWh will be fed into the grid, with the balance used internally.

The project, which is located near Koekenaap, on South Africa’s West Coast, will be connected to the grid through the Skaapvlei substation at a voltage of 132 kV and into the existing Juno-Koekenaap distribution line.

The project should create 11 permanent jobs and Eskom will seek to maximise local content during construction, even though such targets will not form part of the evaluation criteria.

The utility indicates in its application that it will enter an operations and maintenance contract with the supplier of the turbines for a period of five years from operational acceptance. However, a detailed plant life-cycle plan would be developed once the equipment suppliers had been selected.

Joffe says the cost of energy from the project will be a function of its capital and operations costs and expected annual energy production. "All of these variables will be known at the time of contract award later this year," she concluded.
 

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter

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