First Commercial Wind Farm Venture in South Africa

The City of Cape Town signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with a wind energy producer that will generate an estimated 13.2 gigawatt-hours (GWh) per year of “clean” electricity, as reported by Shaun Benton for BuaNews Online. The City of Cape Town intends sourcing about 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources — which could include solar and other forms of energy — by 2020.

Initially, the Darling Wind Farm will use four wind turbines to feed electricity into the national grid that will then be “wheeled” through the national grid and onward to suppliers who have chosen to pay a 25 cent per kilowatt-hour (kWh) surcharge to receive a “green” power supply. The R70-million [US$ 10 million] wind farm in Darling, northwest of Cape Town, is due to start operating next year now that it has secured the assurance of demand by the City of Cape Town, whose officials said the power it would generate could supply half the energy needs of the Cape Town Civic Center’s metropolitan government offices. Hermann Oelsner, the CEO of Darling Wind Power and vice president of the World Wind Energy Association, signed the 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) – a culmination of a 10-year process to establish wind energy as a sustainable source of electricity in South Africa. Oelsner said that Darling Wind Farm planned to later add another six wind turbines to the wind farm, followed by another 10 in the longer term, adding that global demand for the wind turbines was so high that the earliest additional wind turbines would be available only by 2008. The energy project is the result of a partnership between national government, the Danish government, the Central Energy Fund and the Darling Independent Power Producing Company. Said to be the first commercial wind farm venture in South Africa, its success and financial sustainability will depend on business consumers that are prepared to pay premium rates for the power it will produce, which will be sold by the city. National government has set a target of an additional 10,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) a year in renewable energy for the national power grid by 2013, and Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin has stated that government’s aim is for independent power producers to contribute around 30 percent of South Africa’s electricity.

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