Work has officially started on the 138 MW Jeffreys Bay wind farm, in the Eastern Cape, which is the second-largest wind project to have advanced through the first bidding round under South Africa’s competitive Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP).
The 20-year power purchase and implementation agreements for these first projects were signed on November 5, and State-owned power utility Eskom will buy the power arising from the initial eight wind farms for R1.14/kWh.
In total, 1 415 MW of capacity was allocated to 28 wind and solar projects after the first bid window, with 633.99 MW allocated to wind developments.
The Jeffreys Bay project, which spans 3 700 ha and eight farms between the towns of Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp, in the Kouga local municipality district, will involve the deployment of 60 Siemens SWT 2.3 MW wind turbines, which each have a rotor diameter of 101 m.
Crucially, the wind farm is also within close proximity to a 132 kV Eskom transmission line and is, therefore, expected to begin supplying energy to the national grid by mid-2014
A consortium comprising Globeleq, Mainstream Renewable Power, Old Mutual, Thebe Investment Corporation, Enzani Technologies and Usizo Engineering, as well as a local community trust is developing the project. The development reached financial close with the support of a syndicate of lenders led by banking group Absa.
Siemens Wind Power will provide expertise and technology for the supply, installation, and erection of turbines, and will also maintain the turbines for a 10-year period.
The civil and electrical works, including construction of a new substation, will be completed by a joint venture between Murray & Roberts Construction and Consolidated Power Projects.
Globeleq senior business development director Jonathan Hoffman says the project adds to the group’s already extensive African power generation portfolio.
The company, which was launched in 2002 from within the UK’s CDC Group, has developed a 4 000 MW power portfolio in more than 20 emerging markets.
Mainstream Renewable Power’s CEO Eddie O’Connor says South Africa’s has “extraordinary” wind and solar resources and that the company is in the process of developing over 4 000 MW of renewable-energy projects in a bid to harness those resources.
The Jeffreys Bay development is expected to generate 200 jobs during construction and 11 permanent operation and maintenance jobs over the 20-year life of the facility.