An additional 147MW of capacity is added to the national grid as Enel Green Power South Africa’s Soetwater Wind Farm achieves commercial operation.
Soetwater wind farm, which is located in a remote part of the Karoo Hoogland Local Municipality in the Northern Cape, will be able to generate 585 GWh every year, potentially averting the emission of approximately 600,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere annually. The wind farm features Vestas V136-4.2 MW wind turbines, the largest on the African continent to date.
Awarded to Enel Green Power in April 2013 as part of round four of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), the wind farm is supported by a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with South African energy utility provider, Eskom.
Soetwater wind farm brings the number of EGP RSA wind farms in operation up to seven, and includes Nojoli (88 MW), Oyster Bay (140 MW), Nxuba (140 MW), Garob (140 MW) and Karusa (147 MW).
Collectively, the renewable energy supplier now has 12 operational wind and solar projects in South Africa. With are projects now in operation, the business has an overall installed capacity of 1.2GW.
Manuele Battisti, Country Manager of EGP RSA, says construction of the facility, which involves a 200-million-euro (R 3 503 410 000,00) investment in South Africa, commenced in September 2019.
“The construction process was hampered at times by stop/start delays in response to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. The hard lockdown in 2020 – in particular – resulted in difficulties relating to the transportation of people between provinces, as well as the transportation of experts and commissioning teams from other parts of the world. This highlights, all the more, what a significant achievement this is for both the project team, and the country,” he adds.
EGP RSA is committed to playing a crucial role in helping the country solve its energy crises using renewable energy solutions. It also employs local staff and hires local contractors in the construction process, with the aim of promoting meaningful socio-economic and enterprise development. At the peak of the construction phase, the project employed 1,160 people.
As part of its Creating Shared Value initiative, EGP RSA has assisted underserved communities in close proximity to the wind farm in the following ways:
- An educational support programme, which included the installation of twelve interactive smartboards for Roggeveld Primary School and Sutherland High School, both located in Sutherland, the closest town to the wind farm.
- To offset the devastating impact of the nationwide lockdown on vulnerable communities, EGP RSA donated food relief parcels to approximately 200 families made up of women, children and the elderly. The initiative was undertaken in close consultation and support of the Karoo Hoogland Local Municipality.
- In partnership with local municipalities, EGP RSA donated close to 1.1 tons of wooden pallets to local community members and organisations, which will be used for recreational, housing and educational purposes.
Notably, additionalprojects such as community leadership training, youth skills development, a drug and substance awareness campaign, further educational support to the Sutherland-based schools, equipment to upgrade the sports facility and the provision of medical supplies for the only clinic in Sutherland have been earmarked for implementation during the third and fourth quarters of the 2022/2023 financial year.
Battisti says EGP RSA’s work at Soetwater was completed without any zero lost-time incidents. “At Soetwater, we provided training for employees on more than 30 different health, safety and environment (HSE) topics to ensure a safer working environment.
“Safety is incredibly important to the business and we pride ourselves on our safety record. Not only did the women and men who worked on the site consistently comply with existing safety procedures and protocols, they had to embrace a whole new set of protocols relating to Covid-19,” he concludes.
Enel Green Power®, within the Enel Group, develops and operates renewable energy plants worldwide and is present in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania. A world leader in clean energy, with a total capacity of more than 54 GW and a generation mix that includes wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric power, as well as energy storage facilities, Enel Green Power is at the forefront of integrating innovative technologies into renewable energy plants.