Engineering and construction has started on the R550-million, 27 MW MetroWind Van Stadens wind farm, about 30 km from Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, one month after the docking of the components at the Port of Ngqura.
Lead engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor Basil Read Matomo, which was awarded the R475-million EPC contract in November, had progressed civil works on the site and the roads and turbine platforms had been completed, Matomo energy director Marius von Wielligh said on Thursday.
The components for the wind turbines were transported by road to the site between the last week of June and early July, as the company arranged the movement of nine nacelles, 27 blades and nine towers to the site, 57 km from the port.
The firm would start erecting the nine SL3000 3 MW turbines,– which arrived on June 5 and 11 from embattled turbine manufacturer Sinovel Wind Group, based in China – in mid-July, with completion expected by October.
Sinovel last week shut four of its international subsidiaries in Canada, Italy, the US and Belgium, leaving only subsidiaries in Spain and Turkey operational.
China-based media this week reported that, in April, the company’s subsidiaries in Britain, Poland, Romania and Australia were also closed down.
Sinovel reported in international media that the closures were not owing to its legal battles with the US, which has seen the company charged with allegedly stealing trade secrets.
Matomo confirmed that Sinovel’s woes would not impact the project and said the contracts remained in place “as is”.
The MetroWind Van Stadens wind farm was expected to start generating 80 000 MWh/y of electricity – enough to power 5 000 to 6 000 households – by February 2014.
The wind farm was one of several major wind farm developments countrywide – 67% of which would be based in the Eastern Cape.
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