Wind energy in Lesotho: 25 MW first wind farm by year?s end

NETGroup Solutions is a market leader in the South African electricity consulting industry. If all goes according to plan, Netgroup hopes to begin construction of the wind farm by the end of 2010, and begin producing power by 2012.

Netgroup has not yet decided on wind turbined supplier but is considering offers from France’s Vergnet, Spanish firm Gamesa, and Danish supplier Vestas.

The wind turbines will either be 850 kW or 1 MW models. The decision will be based on the ease with which each model can be transported to the project site, which lies at an altitude of 3,000 metres in the Maluti mountain range.

The total cost of the initiative is projected to be around ZAR 600m (USD 79m), although Netgroup has not secured any sources of financing as yet. According to a spokesperson for Netgroup, the company is in talks with several banks as well as a wind power manufacturer.

Once complete, the wind farm will sell energy to the national utility, Lesotho Electricity Company. The small southern African country does not have any feed-in tariffs for renewable energy at present, but is currently working on implementing a policy which should be in place by March 2011.

Total area: 11,718 sq mi (30,350 sq km). Population (2010 est.): 1,919,552.