Enel Group’s South Africa subsidiary, Enel Green Power (EGP) has reached commercial operations for its 140MW Nxuba wind farm in the Eastern Cape province. This is the third EGP renewable energy project in the Eastern Cape and the 8th renewable energy project in EGP’s portfolio in South Africa. The connection of Nxuba wind farm brings the EGP’s overall renewable energy capacity in the country to more than 650 MW.
The construction of the wind energy facility involved an investment of around US$245.36mn, and is expected to generate 460 GWh of energy annually.
This important milestone confirms EGP’s commitment to South Africa and cements our position as the leading renewable Independent Power Producer in the countrySalvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power
Environment and social impact of the Nxuba wind farm
The Nxuba wind farm will eliminate approximately 460,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. Power generated on the wind farm will be purchased by state utility Eskom under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA). The project is part of the bid window 3 of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
The project’s location in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa makes it well suited for wind generation, largely attributed 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.
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.
Use of cutting edge technology during construction
During construction, cutting edge technology and digital tools were essential 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.
Rigorous safety protocols were implemented, in light of the ongoing pandemic and in line with the indications provided by health authorities, with the aim to ensure the necessary protection to the workers involved in the construction as well as to the communities where the park is installed. EGP established strict guidelines for travel, which include preventive quarantine when workers move to cities outside the construction site region, increased sanitization of facilities, vehicles and environments on construction sites, as well as measures to ensure safe work practices. On the construction site, the teams and operations were structured to maintain social distancing. Enel Green Power also carried out testing campaigns involving all employees working on the construction sites.