South Africa to build wind farm in search for clean energy

In a further move in developing clean energy, South Africa will build a wind farm which will generate up to 100 MW of power, it was announced on Monday.

The 2.4-billion-rand (258-million-US-dollar) project will be undertaken by Eskom, the state-own electricity utility, according to the Government Communication and Information System.

Eskom has got the license to build the wind farm from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA).

Located near Koekenaap in the Western Cape, the wind farm is due to be in full commercial operation by the end of 2014. It has an expected operating life of 20 years, with average annual energy production of about 233,000 MWh, enough clean energy to power about 97,000 standard homes.

With the capacity to avoid nearly 4.7 million tonnes of carbon emissions over 20 years, the project is called a milestone for Eskom’s move towards a cleaner energy mix.

The wind farm “is our first large-scale renewable energy project,” said Eskom Chief Executive Brian Dames. “It demonstrates our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and to investing in a sustainable energy future.” The project has been funded by a group of development finance institutions, including the World Bank, African Development Bank, Clean Technology Fund and Agence Francaise de Developpement.

“We are very pleased that we have been able to take advantage of attractive financing from international development finance institutions to construct the project at costs which compare favorably with the market,” Dames said.

Eskom says it has already signed power purchase agreements with the independent power producers procured by the Department of Energy in Phases 1 and 2 of the program and stands ready to connect the new producers to the national grid.