Renewable energy developer and operator Enel Group’s South African renewable energy subsidiary Enel Green Power (EGP) has successfully reached commercial operation of its 140 MW Nxuba Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape.
The project, built at a cost of about €200-million, is expected to generate 460 GWh/y of energy.
The Nxuba Wind Farm will mitigate the emission of about 460 000 t/y of carbon dioxide. It will be supported by a 20-year power supply agreement with power utility Eskom, as part of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
The project’s location in the Eastern Cape makes it well suited for wind generation, largely attributed to the strong wind current along the province’s coastline between Cookhouse and the western border of Lesotho.
The region is also in close proximity to major grid connections, making it convenient to feed energy into South Africa’s national electricity grid.
EGP CEO Salvatore Bernabei says this important milestone confirms EGP’s commitment to South Africa. “We are continuing to make investments to further diversify the generation mix while promoting a sustainable and inclusive energy transition, creating shared value for our stakeholders.”
With the Nxuba Wind Farm coming on line, EGP now has eight operational projects in the country, for an overall installed capacity exceeding 650 MW. In the Eastern Cape province, in addition to Nxuba, EGP has two other wind farms in operation – the Nojoli (88 MW) and Gibson Bay (111 MW).
In the Northern Cape, the company has solar plants Upington (10 MW) and Adams (82.5 MW). Additional solar plants include Pulida (82.5 MW) in the Free State, Tom Burke (66 MW) in Limpopo, and Paleishuewel (82.5 MW) in the Western Cape.
Two projects, Garob in the Northern Cape and Oyster Bay in the Eastern Cape, will commence full operation in the second quarter of 2021. Another two, Karusa and Soetwater in the Karoo Hoogland, are set to start operations in the fourth quarter of this year – each with an installed capacity of 140 MW.
Meanwhile, the construction of the Nxuba Wind Farm involved a significant skills transfer element, with EGP enlisting the services of small and medium-sized enterprises from the local Blue Crane Route and Raymond Mhlaba municipalities to assist in the construction.
Additionally, the concrete tower sections were manufactured locally in the town of Somerset East.
The facility also involved the implementation of digital tools to perform on-site quality checks and the smart tracking of wind turbine components, using innovative solutions enabled for more reliable and precise data collection, thereby improving the overall quality of work while streamlining communications between workers both on- and off-site, according to EGP.