Loeriesfontein wind farm has announced that it has completed the lifting of the first of its 61 wind turbines. This is a pivotal point in the construction of the wind farm, with the next major construction milestone being the arrival of the main transformer and the energisation of the substation. This ZAR3.5 billion wind farm is expected to start supplying electricity to the national grid by end-2017, as part of the third round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
The wind turbines, which are 100m tall to allow for optimum energy production, take a single day to erect, assuming the weather is favourable and the first two section of towers have been erected. 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 tower. 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 heaviest component is the nacelle, which contains the generator and gearbox; and weighs 82.5 tonnes. “The process of constructing the turbines requires two cranes to work simultaneously; the lifting of the massive 108 meter diameter rotor requires great skill and is a really impressive manoeuvre to watch,” said Leo Quinn, Project Manager of Loeriesfontein wind farm.
Siemens Wind Power, along with their sub-contractors, Fairwind and BMS, are responsible for the installation of the wind turbine generators. The same teams will move onto the turbine lifting for the adjacent, Khobab wind farm, next year. “We are pleased to be working with an experienced crew, who fairly recently managed the lifting for Noupoort wind farm and will later move onto our sister wind farm,” added Quinn.
The site was chosen because of its excellent wind resource, its proximity to national roads for wind turbine transportation, the favourable construction conditions, municipality and local stakeholder support, the straightforward electrical connection into Eskom’s Helios substation approximately 11km south of the site, and studies showed that there would be minimal environmental impact.
When operating at full capacity, the Loeriesfontein wind farm will generate approximately 563,500 MWh of clean renewable energy per year; this is expected to supply electricity to power up to 120 000 South African homes.
Further information is available on the Loeriesfontein wind farm website: www.loeriesfonteinwid.co.za.
About Loeriesfontein wind farm:
Loeriesfontein 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 has in excess of 1,300MW of wind and solar power projects in its portfolio. 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.
Loeriesfontein Community 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.