Large Cape wind farm approved

2013-05-17 08:03
Wind farm. (Peter Dejong, AP)

Wind farm. (Peter Dejong, AP)

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Cape Town - A utility-scale wind farm that will be built near Vredendal is expected to generate 100MW of energy.

The Sere Wind Farm which will be operated by Eskom is about 300km from Cape Town and the utility ordered the wind turbines from Siemens.

"We are proud that Eskom chose to partner with Siemens in their first ever utility-size wind project," said Tom Pedersen, director of Siemens Wind Power Division for Africa and the Middle-East.

The contract specifies delivery of 46 wind turbines with an output of 2.3MW each. The turbines will tower of the landscape at 115m and the rotors will have a diameter of 108m.

Wind power for electricity generation has been gaining momentum because of the maturity of the technology, but industry players are concerned that rollout of energy projects is frustrated by policy delays.


"We don't really have a choice because we need, desperately, in this country new generation and we need it quickly. Wind is the only one you can put a lot of megawatts down in a very short time," Hermann Oelsner, president of Africa Wind Energy Association told News24 recently.

But wind energy projects have vocal critics.

In 2012, an advert appeared in a local newspaper that claimed massive numbers of birds are killed by wind turbines.

The Wind Point advert claimed that up to 270 000 birds in the US are killed by wind turbines annually and called on South Africans to object to the development of wind energy as a clean energy alternative to coal and nuclear power production.

BirdLife SA said that it contributed toward a series of protocols to ensure the birds were protected before wind farms were sited.

"BirdLife SA and the Endangered Wildlife Trust have developed a protocol where we ask that wind farm developers do not only do monitoring for a day or two, but for a whole month before a wind farm is approved. Most wind developers accept those protocols," said Ernst Retief, regional conservation manager for BirdLife SA.

A CSIR study found that wind farms in SA presented a low risk to birds, but urged continued monitoring.

"As far as collision mortality for birds is concerned, it is predicted that the project will have a negative impact of low significance (with mitigation). This will have to be verified by post-construction monitoring," the study said.

The Sere ("cool breeze" in the Nama language) Wind Farm will comprise 3 700ha and is funded by the World Bank, the African Development Bank, French development agency Agence Française de Développement, and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF).

The project is scheduled for completion this year, and operations are expected to begin in early 2014.

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Read more on:    renewable energy

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