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South African windfarm combined with hydro

A R100-million windfarm, in Kouga in the Eastern Cape of South Africa combining wind energy with pumped storage, is on schedule and should be operational by the end of the year.
The clean power generation plant is expected to be installed by the middle of the year and will not only be a source of “green energy”, but could well give rise to a new wind power industry in South Africa. The project is based on a farm near Jefferies Bay, owned by a farmer from the UK, who identified the conditions on the farm as ideal for wind power generation.

Dubbed the Genesis Project, the seven-megawatt wind farm is estimated to cost some R70-million, while the second component of the venture, a pump storage scheme, is anticipated to cost an additional R30-million.

Van der Linde explains the importance of the pump storage scheme: “One of Eskom’s main requirements is stable availability of power, which cannot be guaranteed with wind power. Thus, using hydropower generation as back-up, we will be in a position to fulfil this criterion”.

As the Genesis Project is being developed with the support of Eskom, the utility is enthusiastic about the initiative, as it would not be required to reinforce its electrical distribution networks in the region. This capital deferment would effect a saving for Eskom in excess of R15-million a year.

The establishment of the pump storage scheme would also entail enlarging a holding dam on the farm, so it could supply sufficient volumes of water for hydropower generation during peak times.

Van der Linde says that funding for the project will most likely be obtained from the Carbon Credit Fund of the World Bank, which has already identified multiple opportunities for renewable energy projects to be implemented throughout South Africa.

The Carbon Credit Fund is an incentive scheme, which aims to assist projects that can reduce carbon emissions. The fund pays between $2 and $4 a ton of carbon that is saved. It is understood that the fund may pay a percentage of the carbon credits up front, which would be a boost for the Genesis Project.

The initiative’s coordinators are also looking to the Dutch Bank and other financial institutions for funding.

The next step in the development of the wind farm would be to conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA) study, given that the project comes in the wake of the newly-released White Paper on renewable energy.

Most of the wind generation equipment will be imported from Demark, whereas the towers would be produced locally, with Danish and Dutch interests. The project will ultimately aim to create a local wind power industry, which would mean that eventually all components could be manufactured in South Africa.

Van der Linde adds that the project would also benefit local businesses, as contracts for the construction of the farm will be announced “as soon as possible”. Two Eastern Cape companies, New Port Projects and Africoast, have already been contracted to start work on the construction and hydropower components of the farm.

Additional information:
News date: 30/01/2003

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