The 138.6 MW Cookhouse wind farm, in the Eastern Cape, has completed all required performance tests and grid compliance to reach commercial operations and enable achievement of commercial operations date (COD).
The project was selected following the first bid window under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) and, while not the first to achieve COD, was the first to connect to Eskom’s transmission network.
The power plant comprises 66 turbines, which are 80 m in height, and represents 21% of the 634 MW in wind capacity selected during REIPPPP round one.
CEO Jannie Retief says the facility is expected to deliver about 370 000 MWh yearly into the grid, equating to generating enough electricity to power 138 000 low-income homes or 57 000 medium-income houses.
Construction, which began in February 2014, was overseen by Suzlon Energy under an engineering, procurement and construction contract.
The Suzlon team, which will remain on site for most of 2015, will train 15 technical staff recruited from the Eastern Cape, who will form the long-term operations and management team.
The facility, which will operate for 20 years, is 25% owned by the local community through the Cookhouse Wind Farm Community Trust – an ownership level that is five times the governmental target for local community ownership.
The other shareholders include Old Mutual’s Infrastructural, Developmental and Environmental Assets Managed Fund, AFPOC, the African Infrastructure Investment Fund 2 and Nederlandse Financierings Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden, through its investment in Apollo Investment Partnership II.