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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

IDZ in South African renewable-energy push

Brazos Wind Farm in the plains of West TexasImage via WikipediaThe Coega industrial development zone (IDZ) aims to develop three wind farms, which will accommodate 60 turbines on 300 ha of land, says Coega Development Corporation (CDC) business development manager for information on investments Nkuli Mxenge.

Three environmental-impact assess- ments are under way for the three wind farms, with the first comprising 15 turbines, the second 25 turbines and the third comprising 20 turbines.

The 25-turbine wind farm project, in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality (NMBM), was launched in May by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters.

Belgian-based Electrawinds has invested R1,2-billion in the project – the pilot turbine has a capacity of 1,8 MW and the other 24 turbines will each have a capacity of 3 MW, which translates into a yearly yield of 5,7-million kilowatt hours, which is said to be enough energy to power about 1 700 households, Engineering News previously reported.

Electrawinds and two other European renewable-energy developers will be at the forefront of the wind energy projects.

“From various interactions with potential investors, wind energy appeared more promising than solar energy or biomass (biodiesel and biogas), as it is relatively easier and quicker to imple- ment. Following these interactions, the Coega IDZ approached European wind energy developers to invest in the energy cluster,” says Mxenge.

Feasibility studies previously under- taken found that the Coega IDZ is well suited to establish wind farms as it has reputable wind profiles, which are attractive to wind energy investors.

The aim is to feed the electricity generated from the wind farms into the national grid, which will then be distributed by the NMBM to households within the area; however, power purchase agreements need to be finalised.

“The Coega IDZ is already zoned for industrial purposes, unlike the farming areas, where rezoning would have to be done to allow wind farms to be developed,” says Mxenge.

She adds: “We expect to start erecting the other two wind farms, which will also be within the IDZ, in the third quarter of 2011, with completion of the project forecast between the end of 2011 and early 2012.

The wind farms form part of the CDC’s renewable-energy strategy, which aims to complement the national renewable- energy strategy’s aim of generating 10 000 GWh from renewable energy sources.

The Coega IDZ has committed to supplying 1 000 GWh, as part of its renewable-energy strategy to the immediate area surrounding the IDZ and the energy provided will also be fed into the national grid.

However, the Coega IDZ will also dedicate 200 ha of land to solar power and 30,6 ha to biomass development. The total land requirement for renew- able-energy projects is 530,6 ha, which will be located in different zones of the Coega IDZ.

This project will contribute to generating revenue, sustainable development, economic development, job creation, skills development and establishing a new sector in the province.
Engineering News
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