South African power utility Eskom said on Thursday it had plugged its wind farm into the national grid, the first major step in a drive to reduce heavy reliance on coal to power Africa’s most advanced economy.
The Sere wind farm, 350 kms (200 miles) north of Cape Town, is Eskom’s first large-scale renewable energy project.
The seven wind turbines that have spun into life there are producing close 16 MW of power. This is enough to light up about 30,000 households.
When it is completed in March of next year, the entire project will contribute 100 MW to the electricity supply in South Africa, where demand currently sits at close to 33,000 MW.
Eskom, which relies almost entirely on South Africa’s abundant coal supplies for power generation, is struggling to cope with rising demand and is scrambling to finish power plants that have been plagued by delays.