Windy solution to power problems
It is also the second largest in South Africa following the opening in 2010 of its local office, Suzlon Wind Energy SA (Swesa).
The group focuses on sustainable development, prides itself on the knowledge and expertise it has in the countries it operates and is eager to engage with local government.
Swesa is also exploring the manufacturing opportunities of the wind turbine industry in South Africa.
The group has a fully integrated supply chain with manufacturing facilities on three continents, research and development facilities in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and India.
It participated in both the bidding windows of the South African renewable energy independent power producer programme and was awarded the largest project in each of the bids as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.
The Cookhouse wind farm in the Eastern Cape was awarded in the first window with construction starting earlier this year and a commercial operating date of June 2014. Suzlon will supply 66 s.88 2.1MW turbines to the project.
The project allows for the potential incremental development of up to 200 wind turbines.
When completed, the facility will be the largest of its kind on the continent with an installed capacity of 138.6MW. The Suzlon turbines being implemented are designed for a medium wind-speed regime.
The concept is based on a robust design with pitch regulated blade operation, a three-stage gearbox with 2200kW rating and flexible coupling to the asynchronous induction generator.
The units are also designed to withstand extreme conditions and operate effectively with lower maintenance cost.
The wind farm was developed in partnership with African Clean Energy Developments (Aced), a South African-based renewable energy project developer.
Working closely with Standard Bank, Aced closed a financing package which includes a significant portion of broad-based black economic empowerment ownership.
Debt finance will be provided by Standard Bank, Nedbank and Futuregrowth Asset Management with equity coming from Afpoc, African Infrastructure Investment Fund 2 Partnership, African Infrastructure Investment Fund 2 (Mauritius), Apollo Investment Partnership II, Old Mutual and the Cookhouse Wind Farm Community Trust. The Cookhouse wind farm community trust holds 25% equity in the project.
It predicts significant yield from the project, in addition to the socio-economic development of the local communities. To that end, the local communities of Cookhouse, Bedford and Somerset East will be beneficiaries of the trust.
Swesa believes that it has a key role to play in diversifying the energy mix in the country. It shares the department of energy's dream of an energy efficient and energy sufficient country to secure the future energy supply of South Africa.
Swesa's chief executive, Silas Zimu, is actively building his team, which is currently sitting at eight employees.
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