All thirty-five wind turbines have now been installed at the 80 megawatt Noupoort Wind Farm in South Africa’s Northern Cape. The wind farm is swiftly moving along to its Commercial Operations Date in July this year; this follows closely on the announcement that the project is connected to the Eskom grid and commissioning of wind turbines has commenced. “We have reached a couple of major construction milestones with the energised substation and operation of the first turbines a few weeks ago and now the completion of all of the turbine installations,” explained Martina Flanagan, Project Manager of Noupoort Wind Farm.
Construction of the wind farm is progressing smoothly with the transportation of all the various components having safely reached Noupoort Wind Farm earlier this month. The final load from the Port of Ngqura left to site on 4 March and the final tower section arrived from Atlantis on 24 March 2016, marking the final of the 315 abnormal loads. The Project began transportation of these massive turbine components during October 2015, completing a distance of more than 200,000 km over the last five months. “This has been a huge undertaking and we would like to thank the public for their patience and support as well as the various teams for their hard work,” said Flanagan.
The dedicated turbine installation crew from BMS and Fairwind began the erection of the first of its thirty-five wind turbines in December last year. The installation crew worked many late nights and early mornings to take advantage of the periods of low wind to install all the turbines in four months and ahead of schedule.
The Siemens wind turbines, which are 100m tall to allow for optimum energy production, take a single day to construct, assuming the weather is favourable. The three 53m blades, made from fibreglass reinforced epoxy, are connected to the rotor at ground level before being lifted to the top of the turbine. This is a complicated lifting exercise, in which one crane raises the assembled rotor whilst another smaller crane and taglines guide the rotor into the correct position.
The wind turbine’s tip reaches an impressive 154m into the sky when one of the blades stands vertically. The heaviest component is the nacelle, which contains the generator and gearbox; and weighs 82.5 tonnes.
This ZAR1.9 billion project is the first wind farm, as part of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme’s round three, to energize and is expected to also be the first to complete construction in the Northern Province by mid-2016.”
- Construction of the wind turbine generator foundations started in May 2015.
- All 35 turbine foundations were completed, before schedule, on 20 November 2015.
- Transportation of the various components commenced on 19 October 2015.
- All 315 abnormal loads successfully made their way to the wind farm by 17th April 2016.
- Energized the substation on 12th February 2016
- Energised and the first turbines on 23rd February 2016.
- All 35 wind turbines erected by 30th March 2016.
Further information is available on the Noupoort Wind Farm website.
The Noupoort Wind farm is owned by a consortium dedicated to providing clean, renewable energy to the people of South Africa:
- Lekela Power: Lekela Power is a pan-African renewable energy platform which aims to provide 1,000MW of wind and solar power by 2018. It is a 60:40 joint venture between Actis, the global pan-emerging market private equity firm, and Mainstream Renewable Power, the global wind and solar company.
- Noupoort Renewable Energy Trust: Established by the project company with the objective of carrying out public benefit activities to benefit the local community in the areas of enterprise development, education and health.
- Thebe Investment Corporation; one of South Africa’s most established broad based BEE Investment management companies and leading investor in the Energy & Resources sector (advised by Bridge Capital).
- The IDEAS Managed Fund, is managed by Old Mutual Alternative Investments, a subsidiary of Old Mutual Investment Group one of Africa’s largest independent investment managers.
- Futuregrowth Asset Management, a pathfinder in fixed interest and developmental investing.
- Genesis Eco-Energy in partnership with Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital. Genesis Eco Energy is a pioneering South African renewable energy developer which has been active in South Africa since 2001. Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital is a resource efficiency private equity fund that has garnered additional support of two of its investors DEG (The German Development Bank) and FMO (The Dutch Development Bank) in the investment across the Mainstream portfolio.