Iberdrola Ingeniería has completed the development of its first renewable energies project in South Africa, consisting of the construction of three major facilities: the Noblesfontein and Klipheuwel wind farms and the Jasper photovoltaic power plant.
Following the award of three contracts worth €273 million, it is the largest project carried out to date by the Company in the renewables sector in Africa and an important experience in a market that is expected to go on expanding in the years to come.
The two wind farms and the photovoltaic power plant built by the subsidiary of Iberdrola in a consortium with South African firm Group Five have a combined capacity of 200 megawatts (MW), enough to supply electricity to some 150,000 South African homes and avoid the emission of about 300,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
The two wind power projects located in the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces were built on a turnkey basis. The Noblesfontein facility has a capacity of 74 MW. It was awarded in a contract worth €112 million by a consortium formed by Spanish firm Gestamp Wind and two South African partners: Shanduka and Sarge.
This facility consists of 41 wind turbines with a unit capacity of 1.8 MW (Vestas V100 model), as well as a substation and the power line needed to upload the energy to the grid.
One of the main peculiarities of this project was the huge distance between the wind farm site and the nearest industrial and urban areas, which meant that the Company had to produce part of the materials (for example, the concrete or gravel) at the site itself.
The Klipheuwel wind farm awarded by South African firm Biotherm Energy and valued at €40 million has a capacity of 27 MW and is located close to the town of Caledon. Developed by IBERDROLA INGENIERÍA and Group Five, it also features the participation of Chinese firm Sinovel, which supplied the nine wind turbines for the park, i.e. SL3000 models with a unit capacity of 3 MW.
The tender procedures for the Noblesfontein and Klipheuwel facilities were organised under the auspices of Round 1 in the Renewable Energies Programme run by the South African Energy Department (Renewable Energy IPP Programme), which aims to boost the generation of electricity using renewable sources.
This ambitious programme expects to award contracts for a total capacity of 3,725 MW involving various renewable energies in five different rounds. The South African Government recently announced its intention to launch another renewables programme after the current one is over, to add a further 3,200 MW of clean generation capacity to the grid by the year 2020. These ambitious goals make South Africa one of the wind power and photovoltaic markets in the world with the highest potential at the present time.
Iberdrola Ingeniería is also close to completing another major project, the Jasper photovoltaic power plant, which at 96 MW is the largest in Africa. The Company and Group Five have been working on this project after being selected by the Jasper Power Company (a specific project company in which US firm Solar Reserve has a stake) and signing a contract valued at €121 million.
The tender procedure for this project was launched during Round 2 of the South African renewables programme. It was carried out in a desert area with extreme temperatures and involved the installation of over 325,000 modules. This project is located in Northern Cape province in a remote, semi-desert location. It covers a surface area equivalent to 205 football pitches.