Nxuba wind farm begins operations

AdobeStock 249860355Enel Green Power South Africa (EGP RSA), subsidiary of the Enel Group, has successfully reached commercial operation on its 140 MW Nxuba wind farm in the Eastern Cape Province

The project is expected to generate 460GWh of energy annually and will avoid the emission of approximately 460,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. The wind farm will be supported by a 20-year power supply agreement with the energy utility Eskom, as part of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) tender, which in April 2015 awarded a total of five wind projects for 700 MW to the Enel Group in its fourth round.

“This important milestone confirms EGP’s commitment to South Africa and cements our position as the leading renewable Independent Power Producer in the country,” said Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power. “We are continuing to make investments to further diversify the generation mix while promoting a sustainable and inclusive energy transition, creating shared value for our stakeholders.”

The project’s location in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa makes it well suited for wind generation, largely due to the strong wind current along the province’s coastline between Cookhouse and the western border of Lesotho. The region is in close proximity to major grid connections, making it convenient to feed energy into South Africa’s national electricity grid.

With the Nxuba wind farm now online, EGP RSA now has eight operational projects in the country, for an overall installed capacity exceeding 650MW. Two projects, Garob in the Northern Cape and Oyster Bay in the Eastern Cape, will commence full operation in the Q2 of 2021 and another two, Karusa and Soetwater in the Karoo Hoogland, in the Q4 of 2021, each with an installed capacity of 140 MW.

The construction of the Nxuba wind farm involved a significant skills transfer element, with EGP RSA enlisting the services of small and medium enterprises from the local Blue Crane Route and Raymond Mhlaba municipalities to assist in the construction. Additionally, the concrete tower sections were manufactured locally in the town of Somerset East.

The facility also involved the implementation of digital tools to perform on-site quality checks and the smart tracking of wind turbine components. Using innovative solutions has allowed for more reliable and precise data collection, thereby improving the overall quality of work while streamlining communications between workers both on- and off-site.

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