Exxaro?s 100-MW wind farm progresses in South Africa

The masts would obtain on-site wind data to evaluate the wind energy resource potential at Brand-se-baai, where Exxaro was investigating the feasibility of constructing a 100 MW wind farm.

Exxaro Growth Carbon and Energy development manager Ugeshree Thakurpersad told Mining Weekly Online that construction activities for the first 80-m mast would start from January 19. The remaining two masts, a 70-m mast and a 60-m mast, would be installed in March.

Measurements would need to be taken for a minimum of one-year, however, the 80-m mast would remain on site for some 20 years to conduct measurements over this duration.

The company was granted approval by the Department of Mineral Resources to erect the three masts at the heavy minerals mine on January 4.

Exxaro’s Brand-se-baai mine and the concentration plants are located some 385 km north of Cape Town.

Early last year, Exxaro indicated that it would look beyond mining, and into renewable energy generation as well as conventional coal-fired power generation. At the time, the company said it was looking to generate 5 000 MW of power in the next eight years.

In terms of renewable energy, Exxaro is looking at wind energy, solar power and natural gas.

The empowered miner has similarly been involved in the Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm (TCWF) project in the Eastern Cape, which is currently in the feasibility study phase. The R1-billion project aims to generate 40 MW of wind power by 2013.

The group is already working on plans for a concentrated 200MW solar plant close to its coal operations at Lephalale in Limpopo, as well as for wind farms elsewhere in the country that will generate electricity from wind energy.