Cape Town – The Sere Wind Farm near Vredendal in the Western Cape has achieved its full operational capacity and is producing enough electricity to power 124 000 homes.
“Sere is Eskom’s first large-scale renewable energy project, and forms part of our commitment to renewable energy and reducing our carbon footprint,” said Eskom’s acting CEO, Brian Molefe.
“The Sere plant adds 100MW to the national power grid and contributes to saving nearly 6 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over its 20 years expected operating life, with average annual energy production of about 298 000 MWh, enough to supply about 124 000 standard homes,” he said in a statement.
The R2.5bn wind farm helps diversify Eskom’s energy mix and contribute to South Africa’s objective of meeting 42% of the country’s power demand with renewable energy sources by 2030.
All 46 wind turbines have been erected and energised, and the construction of the new Skaapvlei substation and a 44km 132kV distribution line has been completed.
The first wind turbine at the farm was erected in December 2013 and the project took the first step towards the goal of synchronising the wind turbines to the grid when the first string of seven turbines were energised in October 2014.
Although Sere had been completely energised and feeding power to the grid since 30 December 2014, the first quarter of 2015 was used to ensure that the milestone of commercial operation is achieved.
The wind farm is not the only green energy initiative at Eskom, which is also developing a 100MW concentrating solar plant (CSP) project near Upington in the Northern Cape, a project that will save about 450 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over its lifetime.
The development of Sere was funded by the World Bank, African Development Bank, Clean Technology Fund, and Agence Française de Développement.