Two of major renewable power generation company Lekela Power’s wind farms will take major steps towards completion and to contributing 250 MW of energy to the national power grid before the end of the year.
The Perdekraal East Wind Farm will add 110 MW to the grid. It is one of the company’s eight projects on the continent, with three in operation in South Africa, and five under construction or development in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana and Egypt. The company has a total of 1 020 MW in operation and under construction in its African portfolio.
Lekela Power CEO Chris Antonopoulos says “Perdekraal East, in the Witzenberg municipality near Matjiesfontien in the Western Cape, will have 48 turbines generating enough power for 111 000 homes. It has a 20-year power purchase agreement with State-owned power utility Eskom and an implementation agreement with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.”
The 3 055 ha facility will eliminate about 410 000 t of carbon dioxide emissions yearly compared to traditional fossil-fuel power plants, he notes.
“The 140 MW Kangnas Wind Farm in the Northern Cape will reach its Date of Completion later in the year. It will use 61 turbines, each producing 2.3 MW to add around 500 GWh/y of clean, economic and renewable energy to the national grid.”
Sited about 52 km east of the town of Springbok in the Nama Khoi local municipality of the Northern Cape, Kangnas also has a network of medium-voltage array cabling, which collects the energy generated and transmits it to an on-site substation. The project substation will increase the voltage of the electricity generated to the interconnection level, after which it will be transported to the grid-connection point.
“Perdekraal East and Kangnas will join Lekela Power’s three other South African operations already in operation: its 80 MW Noupoort, 140 MW Loeriesfontein 2, and 140 MW Khobab wind farms, all in the Northern Cape,” says Antonopoulos.
The wider African operations comprise the 250 MW West Bakr wind project in Egypt’s Gulf of Suez, and the 158 MW facility in Taiba N’Diaye, Senegal. Taiba N’Diaye will provide a 15% increase in electricity generation capacity for the country, providing power for more than two-million people, he adds.
An eighth project, the Ayitepa Wind Farm on the south eastern coastal region of Ghana is under advanced development, and will begin with 150 MW, with the potential to add a further 75 MW.
“All Lekela’s projects actively support their local communities. This includes providing job opportunities, sourcing from the local economy and investing in community projects.”
“In addition, in South Africa communities benefit from shareholdings in the wind farms through community trusts. Wherever feasible, Lekela continues to drive an increase in the local content in its projects,” says Antonopoulos.
This is in line with Lekela’s focus on creating long-term value for the communities where it operates.
“We want to make a positive impact that lasts for generations in these communities. Beyond the provision of renewable power and employment, we also focus on promoting education, business enterprises and environmental initiatives.”
Most recently this has seen a variety of humanitarian interventions to alleviate the impact of Covid-19, with a focus on women, youth and the vulnerable, Antonopoulos concludes.