Construction of third 140 MW EDF Renewables wind project begins

19th January 2023 By: Terence Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

Construction of third 140 MW EDF Renewables wind project begins

EDF Renewables in South Africa CEO Tristan de Drouas

EDF Renewables in South Africa reports that construction of its third wind project selected during the much-delayed fifth bid window (BW5) of government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) is under way after the 140 MW Coleskop project reached financial and commercial close on January 18.

Senior debt for the R3.5-billion project is being provided by Standard Bank, ABSA, Investec and Momentum Metropolitan.

The project forms part of the 420 MW Koruson 1 portfolio that also includes the Phezukomoya and San Kraal wind projects, which achieved financial close on November 10.

The three projects are 140 MW apiece and are located near Middelburg, in the Umsombomvu local municipality, on the boundary of the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape provinces.

The projects were named together with 22 others as preferred bidders in October 2021, following the resumption of the REIPPPP, which had been disrupted for seven years after the previous Eskom leadership refused to sign power purchase agreements for projects legally procured in 2014.

However, BW5 subsequently experienced serious delays of its own, having been concluded ahead of the surge in renewables costs that arose as a result of several Covid lockdowns in China and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In September last year, EDF Renewables and its partners, H1 and Gibb-Crede, were the first to signed BW5 project agreements with Eskom and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy for the Koruson 1 projects.

By December, a total of 19 other projects had followed suite and were given until the end of March this year to reach financial close.

EDF Renewables in South Africa CEO Tristan de Drouas said the Coleskop project was expected to enter commercial operation by the beginning of 2025 and would sell power to Eskom under a 20-year power purchase agreement. 

As with the Phezukomoya and San Kraal projects, the Coleskop project will comprise 26 wind turbines, being supplied by Goldwind, with hub heights of 124 m and blade lengths of 83 m. South African construction firm WBHO is the contractor for the balance of plant.

EDF Renewables is also constructing the Koruson Main Transmission Substation on behalf of Eskom, under a self-build agreement, which will be transferred to the utility upon completion.

The company, which is a subsidiary of France’s EDF Renewables, says the Koruson 1 projects will create 590 jobs during the two-year construction period and 50 full-time jobs during the operation.

“Approximately 40% of the project value will comprise local content, and during operations, 1.2% of revenue generated by the projects will be applied to socio-economic development initiatives for nearby local communities.”