Loeriesfontein 2 is situated in the Hantam Municipality of South Africa’s Northern Cape and was contracted under the third round of the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
The plant will comprise of 61 of the same Siemens SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines (as used at the Noupoort and Khobab wind farms) with a total output of 140 megawatts.
The site is adjacent to Lekela’s Khobab wind farm and was chosen because of its excellent wind resource, the straightforward electrical connection into Eskom’s Helios substation approximately 11km south of the site, low environmental impact and the positive support from the municipality and local community.
The Loeriesfontein 2 wind farm is expected to generate approximately 563,500 MWh of clean energy each year; enough to power around 120,000 South African homes. The wind farm will offset around 550,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually compared to traditional fossil fuel power plants.
Like all Lekela’s projects the wind farm will actively participate in the local community. This will include providing job opportunities to the local community, sourcing from the local economy and investing in community projects. It is anticipated that over the life of the project over ZAR390m will be invested locally in socio-economic and economic development projects alone.
The wind farm is active in the community and at the peak of construction activities it employed 450 workers from the local community.
It is anticipated that over the life of the wind farm over ZAR398m will be invested community led socio-economic and economic development projects in the local area. Investments already carried out in the community, jointly with the Khobab wind farm, include local childhood development programmes and creation of opportunities for economic development through the provision of 24 scholarships for community members to obtain an accredited security officer qualifications.
In addition, the local community benefit from a 5% shareholding in the wind farm through the Loeriesfontein Community Trust. The trust’s shareholding was initially funded by loans from the Development Bank of South Africa and from the wind farm’s other shareholders. The community trust will use funds received from its investment in the wind farm to service these initial loans and to fund projects that will benefit the local community.
The project is nearing the end of its construction phase and all turbines have been erected. The wind farm has maintained an exemplary health and safety record throughout its construction phase. The project is well on track to successfully achieving its scheduled commercial operations date in December 2017.
For more information about the Loeriesfontein 2 wind farm, visit loeriesfonteinwind.co.za.