South Africa, Noupoort
Noupoort Wind Farm successfully reached commercial operations on schedule and on budget in July 2016, making it the first wind farm to achieve operations as part of the third round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
Situated in the Umsobomvu Municipal Area 10km east of Noupoort in the Northern Cape, the wind farm spans an area of around 7,500 hectares.
The wind farm consists of 35 Siemens 2.3 megawatt wind turbines each with a hub height of 99.5m and three blades each 53m long. The site was chosen because of its excellent wind resource, its proximity to national roads for wind turbine transportation, the favourable construction conditions, municipality and local stakeholder support, the straightforward electrical connection into the Eskom grid, and studies showed that there would be little environmental impact.
The Noupoort wind farm generates around 304,800MWh of clean renewable energy per year for up to 91,000 South African homes. The wind farm will offset around 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually compared to traditional fossil fuel power plants.
The wind farm works actively with the local community to design and invest in meaningful socio-economic and economic development projects, expected to invest over ZAR 170m over the lifespan of the wind farm.
The wind farm has already made a significant impact in the region including implementation of a 6-month development programme to stimulate new local enterprises and an extensive upgrade of the math and science laboratory at the Enoch Mthetho High School in Noupoort.
In addition, the local community benefits from a 5% shareholding in the wind farm through the Noupoort 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 focus on improving local social infrastructure.
For more information about the Noupoort wind farm, visit noupoortwind.co.za.