/ 23 May 2008

SA’s first wind farm opens in Western Cape

The first wind farm in South Africa, which produces electricity from wind power, was switched on by Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica in Darling in the Western Cape on Friday, the Central Energy Fund (CEF) said.

The R75-million national demonstration project is the first ”green energy” initiative in the country to produce electricity from wind power on a commercial basis — this coming against the backdrop of the national energy emergency, it said in a statement.

The wind farm, which has four wind turbines, can supply 5,2MW of electricity.

All the electricity produced will be sold to the City of Cape Town as part of a long-term power purchase agreement.

”South Africa, with its ample coastline, has a potential for major electricity generation from wind,” said Hermann Oelsner, CEO of Darling Wind Power.

He said support schemes for renewable energy being developed could play a significant role in South Africa’s power supply — while also reducing harmful emissions that contribute to global warming.

”The country has the potential to generate electricity from wind in excess of its current total national power consumption, and without the harmful effects of fossil fuel and nuclear-powered generation plants,” Oelsner said.

The project was developed by a group consisting of private developers, including the Darling Independent Power Producer, CEF and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

A portion of the funding was provided as a grant by the Danish International Development Assistance programme. — Sapa