The Khobab Wind Farm, located in the Northern Province, has accomplished the lifting of the first of its 61 wind turbine generators, earlier than scheduled.
According to a company statement, the first power will be exported in the coming three to four months, with all 61 turbines to deliver electricity to the national grid by late 2017.
“This is a fundamental peak in the construction of the wind farm and yet more satisfying that we are ahead of schedule and still on budget,” said Kevin Foster, Project Manager of Khobab Wind Farm.
The company elucidates that the wind turbines, which are 100m tall to facilitate optimal energy production, can take up to three days to erect, weather conditions dependent.
The three 53m blades, made from fiberglass toughened epoxy, are attached to the rotor at ground level before being lifted to the top of the turbine tower.
This is a complex lifting exercise, whereby one crane hoists the assembled rotor at the same time as another smaller crane and taglines steer the rotor into the right position.
The heaviest component is the nacelle, which has the generator and gearbox; and weighs 82.5 tones.
When operating at full capacity, the Khobab Wind Farm will make roughly 563,500MWh of clean renewable energy annually; this is estimated to deliver electricity to power up to 120,000 South African households.
The firm pointed out that it had the same team that installed the turbines at Noupoort Wind Farm and the Loeriesfontein Wind Farm.
Foster commented: “Working with a qualified team, makes all the difference.”
The site was selected because of its outstanding wind resource, its closeness to national roads for wind turbine transportation, the flattering construction conditions, municipality and local stakeholder support, the simple electrical connection into Eskom’s Helios substation roughly 7km south of the site, and studies showed that there would be minimum environmental impact.