The dream of local company, Africoast, to build a viable wind generation plant to service the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro is coming true in fine style. Over the past three months we have witnessed the final stages of this 27 MWh wind farm being put together as the wind turbines landed at the Port of Nqura ahead of transport and erection on a farm overlooking van Stadens.
Today invited guests were given the opportunity to visit the MetroWind wind farm site to view three of the six turbines that have been installed. A total of nine Sinovel SL3000 3MW turbines will deliver the project’s capacity of 27MW. The turbines are about 90m high (to hub height), with a blade diameter of 50m.
Some quick facts from the presentation:
- R550m of private sector investment
- Installed Generation Capacity 27MW
- 20 year project lifespan
- Annual Production 80,000 MWh pa which will meet almost 50% of NMBM target of generating 10% of electricity from renewable energy
- Enough electricity for 5000 – 6000 households
- 120 direct jobs created during construction and 9 full-time jobs will be created during operations
- 80,000 tons of CO? offset per year
- Requires no water to generate electricity – saving 80 million litres per annum
- R30m investment into socio-economic and enterprise development over project lifespan
- All communities to benefit including Blue Horizon Bay, Fitches Corner, Shamrock, Van Stadens and Witteklip
- 5% of company owned by the Metrowing Coommunity Trust (MCT), with subsequent dividend revenue for community investment
- It takes 5-6 days to erect each turbine
- Each turbine blade weighs 10 tons
- The mast consists of 4 sections
- There is a lift inside each mast to take maintenance crew to the top
- The tolerances are precise – only a 4mm differential settling across the turbine ring (base of the mast) is allowed.
Present at the event was Nelson Mandela Bay’s Honourable Executive Mayor Mr Nkosinathi Benson Fihla who accompanied all out to the wind farm and then to the Fitches Corner settlement to engage with members of the community who heaped praise on the Metrowind consortium for providing solar lighting and support for the impoverished community and expressed their disappointment in only seeing municipal officials at “Vote Time”.
Coming in for special mention was Port Elizabeth based company Newport who were praised for delivering ahead of time and for their exemplary work – nice one Newport!
Commenting on the merits of the project Mr Marius Heyns, Chief Executive Officer of Basil Read said, “The MetroWind Van Staden Farm project brings strategic benefits not only for the region and local communities but also for the country as a whole because of the supply of clean sustainable energy. The project will supply in the region of 5 000 to 6 000 households with electricity. We are proud that the communities of Shamrock and Witteklip have already benefited from this project through the installation of solar-powered area lighting.”
The Sinovel wind turbine components were shipped from China and arrived in the Port of Ngqura near Port Elizabeth during in June 2013. They were transported by road to site and erection of the turbines began early in August 2013.
The project is eight months into construction with the first two sections of the remaining six turbines installed and all civil works on site completed. This includes roads, all nine turbine platforms, main control building and a store room.
Running concurrent with the civils is the rapid progress that has been made with the electrical works: the overhead line poles are in place; stringing of 8km line is in progress; electrical reticulation of farm is close to completion and the transformers are in the process of being delivered and installed. In addition, the main Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality switchgear was delivered to site and is currently being tested.
Marius von Wielligh, Director of Energy at Basil Read Matomo, the lead EPC contractor of the wind farm said: “We are pleased with the excellent progress made with the project thus far to the extent that we will be in a position to begin cold commissioning early in October 2013.”
Basil Read assure us that the site has remained compliant with all environmental specifications and reached targeted job creation goals for the project which have benefited the local community.
The site is certainly a magnificent one and is dominates the skyline – there must be a tourism angle there somewhere.
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