Independent power company Palm Power System, a subsidiary of Okhela Renewable Energy Corporation (Orec), will start manufacturing 300-kV wind turbines in January, CEO Jacob Mabena said on Thursday.
Orec, which is also pursuing opportunities in hydro, wind, solar, biomass, biofuels and wave energy, plans to complete the prototype for its wind turbines between June and December and production, in a joint venture with Venture SA, will start early next year in Centurion.
As part of its R2,4-billion five-year plan to install 800 machines, with a combined capacity of 240 MW, Mabena said that Orec was in talks with the Nelson Mandela Municipality and an Eastern Cape-based group of private companies to supply wind turbines for renewable energy projects.
He explained that the private group was investigating the establishment a 12 MW wind farm, in the Eastern Cape, and that Orec was hoping to supply 38 of its 300-kV machines.
The Nelson Mandela Municipality was considering a 3 x 20 MW wind farm and Orec was eager to supply 65 of its machines.
Both the private sector group and the municipality had indicated that they might agree to sign a long-term power purchase agreement with Orec, Mabena added.
Orec was mainly targeting the South African market, but he noted that it was also pursuing opportunities in Africa. Neighbouring Namibia, which imports most of its electricity from South Africa, was one of the company’s main focus areas.
South Africa’s sole wind farm, Darling, is situated 70 km north of Cape Town, in the Western Cape, in an area where strong winds blow over the hills of the Swartland. The wind farm will produce 13 MW of power from ten 1,3 MW wind turbines. The Darling wind farm sells its power to the City of Cape Town.
South Africa’s main electricity generation source is power from coal-fired stations, but with greenhouse gas emissions and global warming high on the international agenda, more renewable energy possibilities are being investigated.
In fact, South Africa has set a target of producing 10 000 GWh of energy from renewable energy sources, mainly from biomass, wind, solar and small-scale hydro power, by 2013. This would be equivalent to replacing two 660-MW units of Eskom’s combined coal-fired power stations.
Orec is also pursuing opportunities in other renewable energy technologies and Mabena reported that it was in the process of commercialising wave energy technology in partnership with Ocean Energy Systems.
This technology, which is an amplified wave energy converter system, has been designed and is in the process of being taken to a prototype.
He explained that the technology would use waves to generate energy, which would then be used to desalinate seawater, producing over 400 000 l of fresh water.
Finevera Renewables is currently developing a 20-MW wave-energy project in South Africa.
In solar power, Orec is finalising a memorandum of understanding with a South African company to manufacture solar streetlights and other solar products. Orec owns 45% of the company, which will be renamed Okhela Solar system and Mabena said that its first project would be to upgrade the Kruger National Park’s solar systems at some of its bush camps.
Orec also has a 4 000 l/m biodiesel plant in Boksburg, on the East Rand, which might be expanded to 600 000 l/m over the next two months, Mabena said.
“We have offtake agreements for 800 000 l/m,” he added.