Mainstream Renewable Power has announced that its South African 80 MW Noupoort Wind plant has achieved its Commercial Operations Date (COD) on schedule and on budget, making it the first wind plant to successfully achieve operation as part of the third round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
All 35 turbines of this ZAR1.9billion (US$132 million), 80 MW wind plant, have been commissioned and connected to the Eskom Grid and the project satisfied all of Eskom’s requirements on 11 July 2016.
When operating at full capacity, the 80 MW Noupoort Wind Plant will generate around 304,800 MWh of clean renewable energy per year; this is expected to supply electricity to power up to 69 000 South African homes.
Situated in the Umsobomvu Municipal Area located 10km east of Noupoort in the Northern Cape, Noupoort Wind plant spans 7500 hectares and comprises thirty-five 99m-high wind turbines. 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 the Eskom grid, and studies showed that there would be little environmental impact.
Savva Antoniadis, Country Programme Manager for Noupoort Wind Farm said:
“We are thrilled to have reached this milestone on target and to have met all Eskom’s requirements including Grid Code Compliance, thereby achieving COD just 17 months after construction commenced.”
South Africa’s relatively new wind energy sector is already supplying enough electrical energy to power more than half a million households from 15 large wind plant generating over 3 GW of wind energy. In addition to the enormous water savings, significant in the country’s current state of drought, REIPPPP ensures that renewable energy projects benefit nearby communities. So far in excess of ZAR90 billion has been committed to developmental initiatives under this programme. Antoniadis explained:
“We are currently implementing various economic development projects, which include Capacity Building for existing and prospective entrepreneurs; and local maths and science development programmes that incorporate science and computer labs as well as local Wi-Fi infrastructure.”
The team at Noupoort Wind plant has been working closely with the various Eskom teams to achieve this milestone, but value the positive community relationships equally as much. Antoniadis added:
“Our Project has received resounding support from the local municipality and the surrounding communities who supported us throughout the construction phase, for this we most grateful and look forward to a long and mutually beneficially relationship.”