The transportation of locally manufactured wind-turbine tower sections began on October 19, with abnormal-load trucks setting off from Atlantis, in the Western Cape, on a 1,000km, four-day journey to Noupoort, in the Northern Cape, where an 80 MW power plant is under construction.
The turbine towers are the first to be manufactured by GRI - Renewable Industries at its R300-million facility near Cape Town and will enable the wind farm to achieve a local-content commitment of better than 40% of the project’s R1.9bn capital cost.
The wind farm was named a successful bidder following the third bid window of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, through which some 6 300 MW of renewables capacity has been procured since 2011.
State-owned power utility Eskom, which buys the power from the renewable-energy projects, reports that 42 projects, with a combined capacity of 2 142 MW, have been connected to the grid.
The Noupoort project is being developed by a consortium comprising Lekela Power, a 60:40 joint venture between Actis and Mainstream Renewable Power, Thebe Investment Corporation, Old Mutual’s IDEAS Managed Fund, Futuregrowth Asset Management, and Genesis Eco-Energy in partnership with Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital and local community trusts.
The debt for the project has been arranged and underwritten by Barclays and the Development Bank of Southern Africa
The GRI facility, meanwhile, is capable of producing 150 turbine towers yearly, with the first of Noupoort’s 35 towers, or 140 sections, being transported by trucks with oversized trailers of up to 57m in length.
The turbines are being supplied by Siemens and transported by DHL and ALE.
“We are delighted to be receiving the first of these locally manufactured wind turbine towers at Noupoort wind farm,” Noupoort project manager Martina Flanagan said in a statement.
The wind turbine components weigh 22,000 ton collectively and will travel over 200,000 km along three different routes. Besides the tower sections, the nacelles and hubs will travel a 400km route from the Port of Ngqura to Noupoort. The 53m blades will also be transported from the Port of Ngqura along a separate 380 km route to the project site.
Erection of the 35, 99m-tall turbines will take place on the Noupoort property, which spans 7,500 ha. A consortium of Murray & Roberts and Conco has been appointed as construction contractor and Siemens Wind will supply and install the wind turbines.
The wind farm is expected to generate about 305,000 MWh yearly, enough electricity to power about 70,000 average South African homes.