Plans for the construction of the Castle Wind Farm, South Africa’s largest private wind farm, are moving forward. Recently, a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the project was signed and financial close attained. This milestone was announced by the project’s developer, Sibanye-Stillwater, a platinum, gold, palladium and rhodium mining major.
The PPA, which will be valid for 15 years was signed with state-owned utility firm Eskom. The project will be funded, built, and operated by a consortium comprising African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) and Reatile Renewables.
AIIM is a division of Old Mutual Alternative Investments (OMAI). It is represented in the Castle Wind Farm project by African Clean Energy Developments (ACED). ACED is AIIM’s renewable energy project development and delivery platform.
Additionally, the company is invested in the project through its IDEAS Fund. The latter is one of South Africa’s largest domestic infrastructure equity funds. The financing for the Castle wind farm project was arranged by Rand Merchant Bank (RMB). RMB is a division of FirstRand Bank Ltd.
Development and Expectations for the Castle Wind Farm
The 89 MW Castle Wind Farm is set for construction near the town of De Aar in the Northern Cape province. The works are set to commence in June 2023 while the facility is scheduled for commercial operation in early 2025.
Comprising 16 Goldwind 6 MW turbines, the facility will be connected to the national grid via the Hydra main transmission station. The electricity produced will be used to power Sibanye-Stillwater’s mining operations.
Speaking on the project, Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater said that this milestone marks the company’s first major step towards delivering over 550 MW of renewable project portfolio. The CEO added that it is a significant milestone in their journey to carbon neutrality by 2040.
“The Castle Wind Farm project will not only play a pivotal role in reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change. It will also result in cost savings on electricity and provide energy security benefits for Sibanye-Stillwater’s SA operations. Additionally, it will contribute to addressing the electricity challenges in South Africa at large,” concluded Froneman.