Zone 12 of the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) will be home to 20 wind turbines as part of a major investment by Universal Wind, a Swedish-based company led by Coega’s first woman investor, Mia Bergstrom.
Bergstrom visited the Coega IDZ last month to supervise the erection of a wind measuring mast in Zone 12 which will collect wind data ahead of the fourth round of the Department of Energy’s REIPPPP (Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme) for wind energy development in South Africa.
Bergstrom said it was a case of “complete coincidence and right timing” that Universal Wind was approached by the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) three years ago.
“At that point we were considering, among other countries, Mexico and Chile as possible places with potential for wind turbines – but the Coega proposal came in and we just felt it would be the right fit – so we visited the site and made the decision to install 20 turbines in South Africa.
“This wind mast is the first fruit of all those discussions and an extensive bid to enter the renewable energy market in South Africa. In August we received the record of decision (RoD) from the Department of Environmental Affairs and we are now collecting wind data,” said Bergstrom, who is both director and shareholder in Universal Wind.
Universal Wind is investing R850-million into the project and its turbines will generate about 150 GWh per annum. Each turbine will have an installed capacity of up to 3 megawatts (MW) of power.
“Wind turbines are one of the few energy generating devices that you can establish and when taken away in 25 years’ time, won’t have left any mark on the surrounding environment,” added Bergstrom.
The CDC has walked the road with Universal Wind and, according to Bergstrom, has enabled the success of the project to date. “We are very pleased with the collaboration and partnership with the CDC and all the guidance they have offered us. We would have given up had it not been for their support, as the legislative and bureaucratic environment can be difficult for outsiders. But the CDC has always been energised and keen to assist on all matters from SARS to the Department of Trade and Industry.”
The CDC, which endorsed last week’s Eastern Cape-European Union Renewable Energy conference as part of its strategy to promote its continued cultivation of environmentally sustainable investors, is lobbying for future investments in the renewable energy sector as the province positions itself as the green hub of South Africa.
The Eastern Cape stands to gain investments worth R18-billion as part of Window 1 of the REIPPPP. Last month 28 IPP contracts were awarded by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, which would contribute 1 400 megawatts of power to the national grid – enough to power 1.1 million homes. A total of 36% of national generation allocation from Window 1 is in the Eastern Cape, with 10 wind farms (67%) to be located in the province.
Chasing the 10% target for contributing to South Africa’s renewable energy production in the near future, the CDC plans to cement the position of its IDZ as the green energy hub of the Eastern Cape.
The CDC will also contribute, in the near future, to the renewable energy logistics coordination. “With over 1 656 abnormal renewables component loads destined for delivery through the Eastern Cape over a period of 154 days and multiple parties involved, Coega realises the customs, transport and other logistics challenges that this presents,” said Vilakazi.
“Recognising the need to maximise efficiency and curtail costs, our experienced team continues to interact with a host of multiple parties to ensure that as many of these challenges as possible are adequately covered.”
Currently the CDC has three wind energy projects and one solar energy project which are in various stages of development. These projects would contribute 200 megawatts (MW) to the national grid by 2015.