Aurora Wind Power, a venture of ENGIE (formerly GDF SUEZ, France,) Investec Bank Limited (RSA) and KTH (RSA,) announced that it has started commercial operation of the 94 MW West Coast 1 wind farm. The site is situated in the Western Cape Province, near Vredenburg.
The West Coast 1 project is part of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme, through which South Africa intends to procure 3,625 MW of renewable energy by the end of 2016, to help curb its reliance on coal for electricity and contribute towards carbon emission reduction objectives. West Coast 1 will allow for an offset of an estimated 5.6 million tonnes of CO2 over the 20-year duration of its Power Purchase Agreement (PPA.)
ENGIE holds a 43% equity stake in the project, while Investec Bank Limited (“Investec”) holds 34.5% and KTH 20%. The remaining 2.5% has been allocated to a Community Trust, for the purpose of developing and sustaining the surrounding community. Vestas supplied the forty seven 2 MW wind turbines, and will also be charged with the long term service of the facility.
The construction of West Coast 1, which started in June 2013, created more than 600 jobs, 450 of which were for surrounding communities. The operation of the wind farm will create permanent jobs for these communities over the 20 years of the PPA. The achievements of the project, both in terms of job creation and South African local content purchase, exceeded the objectives for local economic development agreed with the South African Government.
Tristan Bosser, CEO of Aurora Wind Power, commented, “West Coast 1 wind farm has started commercial operation on schedule. The success factors that contributed to this achievement are solid partnerships, strong support from both local and national Authorities, and highly motivated teams. I sincerely thank everyone for their efforts and support. I’m proud that we have attained our goal with the utmost respect for our economic development objectives and that we have been able to engage with the local communities, notably through our long-term partnership with the Valued Citizen Initiative. We are also able to report zero working accidents during the construction period of 2 years, a notable achievement of which we are extremely proud.”
Fazel Moosa, Head of Project and Infrastructure Finance at Investec said, “Investec’s participation as a debt and equity provider demonstrates its commitment to supporting the South African government’s dual objectives of establishing environmentally sustainable forms of energy generation and contributing to local economic development.”
Kgaugelo Kgomari, Director of Investments at KTH, stated, “KTH is privileged to be a partner with ENGIE and Investec on the West Coast 1 project. We are proud to be one of the drivers of the development of clean energy sources for South Africa whilst ensuring that there is impactful economic development opportunities for the local communities.”