South Africa commissions Noupoort wind farm

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South Africa has officially commissioned the Noupoort wind farm the latest energy project to be launched by the country.

The 80MW facility is situated in the Umsobomvu Municipal Area which is located 10km east of Noupoort in the Northern Cape. Noupoort Wind Farm spans 7,500 hectares and comprises thirty five 99m-high wind turbines.

The US$132.7m wind farm project has 35 turbines. All the turbines are now producing clean renewable electrical energy to meet the needs of almost 70,000 average South African households. According to the projects operator Mainstream Renewable Power, Noupoort Wind Farm has achieved its commercial operations date on schedule and on budget.

“Today is of note because it is the first Round 3 wind farm to reach commercial operation. This is Mainstream’s fourth renewable energy project to reach commercial operation in South Africa,” said Terry Ryan, Mainstream’s Group Finance Director.

“We also developed and built the Jeffrey’s Bay Wind Farm as well as the Droogfontein and De Aar solar power facilities from Round 1and we’re currently building two wind farms near Loeriesfontein in the Northern Cape which are on track to start operating in December next year,” he added.

Noupoort Wind Farm is currently implementing various economic development projects, which include Capacity Building for existing and prospective entrepreneurs; local maths and science development programmes that incorporate science and computer labs as well as local Wi-Fi infrastructure.

Besides being the excellent wind resource, the site was also selected due to its proximity to national roads for wind turbine transportation, the straightforward electrical connection into the Eskom grid, the favourable construction conditions, municipality and local stakeholder support. However, studies have shown that there will be little environmental impact.

The wind farm in Noupoort is expected to generate about 304,800MWh of clean renewable energy per annum. The wind farm is also expected to eliminate approximately 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year when compared to the traditional fossil fuel power plants.

In addition to zero carbon emissions and reduced use of fossil fuels, the country will benefit from minimal water consumption during the generation process and significant social and enterprise development programmes.