A conglomerate led by the Spanish company ACCIONA Energy in partnership with the South African construction firm Aveng has put the Gouda Wind Farm into commercial operation.
“The completion of the Gouda Wind Farm demonstrates our commitment to the development of a sustainable renewable energy sector in South Africa. Our specific contribution to this sector is marked by the use of latest-generation technology in both the wind and photovoltaic facilities we have developed,” says ACCIONA Energy South African CEO Rafael Esteban.
Located in the municipality of Drakenstein in the Western Cape, the facility consists of forty-six 3MW AW100/3000 turbines. With a capacity of 138 megawatts (135.2MW net) will produce an average of 423 gigawatt-hours (GWh) per year. This is equivalent to the consumption of 200,000 South African households.
Additionally the facility avoids emissions into the atmosphere of 406 million metric tons of CO2 per year which is typically emitted by coal-fired power plants.
The turbines are designed and manufactured by ACCIONA Energy’s Windpower division which used its own patented technology. This technology is a first in South Africa, and the Company is recognised internationally as the world's top wind turbine manufacturer.
This robust and reliable machine is designed to meet the specific requirements of the Wind Farm operators’ who demand the best possible performance throughout the turbine's working life.
With a rotor diameter of 100mthe turbines are mounted on 100m high concrete towers.
The ACCIONA wind turbines are designed to generate at 12,000 volts, compared to 690 volts which is more common for other manufacturers.
These turbines are unique in that medium-voltage generation (12 kV) has been extensively deployed by ACCIONA Windpower. In cases where the wind turbines are close to the substation, the main advantages of this technology if the elimination of transformers and a reduction in power losses.
Additionally the turbines use concrete towers which offer an alternative to steel. This means that ACCIONA Energy can offer a cost-efficient product that is able to reach taller heights as well as maximising on local content.
Therefore and in the case of the Gouda Wind Farm this technology ensured significant cost savings and more importantly a product that is fit for purpose.
“Our mission is to provide efficient solutions for our customers. That is why we have developed a concrete tower technology for sites where it is important to reach the highest possible hub heights and optimise wind power generation,” concludes Esteban.
The construction of the Gouda Wind Farm was a joint effort by ACCIONA Energy and its partner Aveng. Both parties will manage the operation and maintenance of the facility during its contracted twenty year lifespan.
During construction an average of 400 jobs we created, with 600-700 people working at the time peak activity. The Wind Farm now employs 15 full-time staff to manage the day-to-day operations of the facility.
The consortium that owns the wind farm is led by ACCIONA Energy (51% of the capital) and the South African infrastructure firm Aveng (29%.) Other partners are Soul City Broad-Based Empowerment Company (SCBBEC) and a community development entity (Local Community Trust), both with a 10% stake.
The Gouda Wind Farm was approved by the Department of Energy in the second round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP.)
In the same round the consortium was awarded the Sishen Solar Plant in the Northern Cape. This facility has a capacity of 94.3 MWp (74 MW nominal,) and entered service in November 2014.
Contribution towards economic transformation
The construction of the Gouda Wind Farm contributed R500m rand towards BBBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) compliant companies, 150 of which are Qualifying Small Enterprises and Exempted Micro Enterprises.
The developer has also made a commitment to allocate 2.1% of its annual revenues to community development initiatives through Socio-Economic Development (SED) and Enterprise Development (ED) entities.
In addition to these, additional initiatives are carried out by the two community cooperation entities that have a stake in the company that owns the plant.
ACCIONA Groups footprint in South Africa
With the commissioning of the Gouda Wind Farm ACCIONA Energy now owns and operates plants in 15 countries totalling almost 8,600 MW.
As demonstration of its commitment to South Africa the ACCIONA Group has the following footprint in South Africa:
- ACCIONA Energy plans to bid in the coming rounds of the REIPPPP so that it can intensify its activities South Africa.
- ACCIONA Windpower negotiating the supply of wind turbines to companies who are currently developing wind farms in South Africa.
- Group Division ACCIONA Infrastructure is participating in the construction of the Bokpoort concentrating solar power (CSP) plant, a 50 MW capacity project led by the Saudi group ACWA Power.