Enel Green Power South Africa (EGP RSA), the South African subsidiary of Italian renewables developer, Enel, has connected the 147 MW Soetwater Wind Farm, in the Northern Cape, to the country’s electricity grid. This follows the company’s recent connection of the 147 MW Karusa wind farm in the Western Cape to the grid last month.
The Soetwater Wind Farm was constructed at an estimated R3.5-billion, or €200-million. The two wind farms are expected to generate over 585 GWh of renewable electricity per year each, and help avert about 600 000 t/y of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere annually.
The two projects were awarded to Enel Green Power in 2016 as part of round four of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). The wind farms are supported by a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with South African energy utility provider, Eskom.
Construction for the wind farms started in 2019, but experienced stop/start delays in response to Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions. Both wind farms feature Vestas V136 4.2 MW wind turbines, the largest on the African continent to date, according to EGPRSA.
“The COVID-19 hard lockdown and accompanying restrictions caused various delays and supply challenges for the project as well as limiting international travels. Enel Green Power overcame these strategic problems by using South African resources and harnessing technological solutions that allowed for remote interaction with colleagues in other countries,” said Manuele Battisti, Country Manager of EGP RSA.
Enel now boasts 1.2 GW of installed capacity in SA
With the connection of the Soetwater wind farm, and Karusa wind farm EGP RSA now has a total of seven wind farms in operation. This includes the 88 MW Nojoli, the 140 MW Oyster Bay, Nxuba and Garob farms. With a portfolio of 12 operational wind and solar projects in South Africa, the company boasts an overall 1.2 GW installed renewable energy capacity in South Africa.
The recently connected renewable energy projects are expected to help improve energy supply in the Southern African country. South Africa this year has experienced its worst ever power outages, with power cuts lasting for more than six hours a day, further undermining the government’s economic recovery plans.
EGP RSA says it is committed to supporting South Africa to solve its energy crises through renewable energy solutions. The company said it employs local staff, and hires local contractors in the construction process, with the aim of promoting meaningful socio-economic and enterprise development.
At the peak of the construction process of Karusa and Soetwater, the company said it had 1,160 employees on site.
“EGP RSA is currently looking to empower local SMMEs through its Enterprise Development Support programme. This could include support in the form of funding, income generating assets (equipment), skills development and market linkages, amongst others,” the company said.