Noupoort Wind Farm Officially declared Operational by Community Leaders
Noupoort, 13 September 2016: The Northern Cape’s landscape has been forever changed as this region continues to lead the country as the number one renewable energy province. Noupoort Wind Farm has been officially declared operational by Mr Mzwandile Toto, District Mayor of Umsobumvo Municipality, in a proud moment for the town of Noupoort, historically known for its railway activity in the eastern Karoo region.
“We are honoured to be welcomed by the people of Noupoort who have been incredibly supportive of our project during its construction. It is now our chance to give back to the community during our 20-year operational period, where we will be investing through our economic development programmes,” said Dennis Solomon, Plant Manager for Noupoort Wind Farm.
Commercial activity in Noupoort was previously heavily dependent on the railway, which has largely dwindled due to the decline in rail activity. This makes the socio economic and enterprise development initiatives even more relevant to the local community of Noupoort than where wind energy projects are situated close to prosperous regions.
During the inaugural ceremony the Official handover of the Noupoort Wind Farm Keys were passed from Miss Aniqah Misbach, Assistant Project Manager for Mainstream Renewable Power to Mr Dennis Solomon, the new Plant Manager for Noupoort Wind Farm. Chris Antonopoulos, CEO of Lekela Power, the majority shareholder of the Project, proudly cut the ribbon to signify the official activation of Noupoort Wind.
“We have a focus on community investment throughout all of our projects to help create thriving and empowered communities including education, skills development, employment and enterprise, environment and energy investment,” said Chris Antonopoulos.
Noupoort Wind Farm is currently implementing various economic development projects, which include Capacity Building for existing and prospective entrepreneurs; local maths and science development programmes that incorporate science and computer labs as well as local Wi-Fi infrastructure.
Lekela Power, a joint venture between Actis and Mainstream Renewable Power, is a pan-African renewable energy platform, with more than 1,300MW of wind and solar power projects in its portfolio. South Africa is an important renewable energy hub for the group which has a total of 360MW in assets, of which two wind farms are currently still in construction.
The Noupoort Community Trust, which owns a 5% share in Noupoort Wind Farm, has been equally funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Noupoort Wind Farm Shareholder. A local community Trustee has already been appointed. The Trust was established to carry out public benefit activities in the local community.
Other members of the consortium that own Noupoort Wind Farm include: Thebe Investment Corporation; The IDEAS Managed Fund; Futuregrowth Asset Management; Genesis Eco-Energy in partnership with Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital. ‘Having been involved in the development of this project since its inception it’s heartening to see Noupoort Wind Farm entering into commercial operation,” said Genesis Eco-Energy MD, Davin Chown.
All 35 turbines of this ZAR1.9billion, 80MW wind farm are now producing clean renewable electrical energy to meet the needs of almost 70 000 average South African households. Noupoort Wind Farm achieved its Commercial Operations Date on schedule and on budget.
About the Noupoort Wind Farm:
Situated in the Umsobomvu Municipal Area located 10km east of Noupoort in the Northern Cape, Noupoort Wind Farm spans 7500 hectares and comprises thirty five 99m-high wind turbines.
The site was chosen because of its excellent wind resource, its proximity to national roads for wind turbine transportation, the favourable construction conditions, municipality and local stakeholder support, the straightforward electrical connection into the Eskom grid, and studies showed that there would be little environmental impact.
Noupoort Wind Farm will generate around 304 800MWh of clean renewable energy per year and eliminate approximately 300 000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year when compared to traditional fossil fuel power plants.
In addition to zero carbon emissions and reduced use of fossil fuels, the country will benefit from minimal water consumption during the generation process and significant social and enterprise development programmes.
o Construction of the wind turbine generator foundations started in May 2015.
o All 35 turbine foundations were completed 20 November 2015.
o First turbine lifting completed in December 2015
o All 35 wind turbines erected by 30 March 2016.
o Energised the substation on 12 February 2016
o Energised the first turbines on 23 February 2016.
o COD achieved on 11 July 2016
Further information is available on the Noupoort Wind Farm website: www.noupoortwind.co.za.