Noupoort wind farm erects first wind turbine

Noupoort Wind Farm (80MW), in South Africa’s Northern Cape, has announced that it has completed the erection of the first of its thirty-five wind turbines.  This is a pivotal point in the construction of the wind farm, with the next major construction milestone being the energisation of the substation. All the wind turbine foundations were completed ahead of schedule last month and the main transformer as recently delivered to the site.  This transformer is responsible for increasing the voltage from 33kV to 132KV, which is the voltage at which the will be transferred to Eskom’s national grid.

Noupoort wind farm, South Africa

Martina Flanagan

This ZAR1.9 billion wind farm is expected to start supplying electricity to the national grid by mid-2016 and will be the first wind farm to complete construction in this Province, as part of the third round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. “We are extremely pleased be on schedule and on budget,” commented Martina Flanagan, Project Manager for Noupoort Wind Farm (pictured).

The wind turbines, which are 100m tall to allow for optimum energy production, take a single day to construct, assuming that 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. “With two cranes working simultaneously, it is really impressive to watch the 108 meter diameter rotor being lifted,” said Flanagan.

Milestones:

  • 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.
  • More than 100 of the 315 abnormal loads have already successfully made their way to the wind farm.
  • It is expected that 160 loads will be delivered before the end of the year, when transportation will be halted for the school holiday period.

Siemens Wind Power along with their subcontractors, Fairwind and BMS, are responsible for the instillation.

The wind farm is expected to generate approximately 305 000MWh each year of clean, renewable energy to the national grid and will avoid roughly 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year when compared to traditional fossil fuel power plants.

Further information is available on the Noupoort Wind Farm website: www.noupoortwind.co.za.

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