Mega wind energy facility switched on in ECape

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The Golden Valley Wind Energy Facility is located approximately 5km from Cookhouse, on 9 000 hectares of farm land.
The Golden Valley Wind Energy Facility is located approximately 5km from Cookhouse, on 9 000 hectares of farm land.

A new wind energy facility that will power 120 000 households in the Eastern Cape Province has gone live.

The 123MW Golden Valley Wind Energy Facility reached commercial operations on 1 May, and is expected to generate over 477GWh of renewable power each year, equivalent to the energy needs of approximately 120 000 households.

Yesterday, BioTherm Energy announced the completion of all four of its renewable energy projects in SA, with the latest project having come on stream in the Eastern Cape.

The company’s R6.5 billion investment connects 284MW into SA’s national grid and is partnered by Thebe Investment Corporation, which has a 37.5% stake in all four projects.

Golden Valley joins 33MW Excelsior Wind Energy Facility in the Western Cape and two solar PV projects in the Northern Cape, namely 46MW Aggeneys Solar, and its sister plant 86MW Konkoonsies II Solar, all of which form part of government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme’s fourth bid round.

Government has since opened the much-awaited Bid Window 5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme, which will procure a further 2 600MW of renewable energy from independent power producers (IPPs).

The energy department expects the new bid window to unlock R45 billion worth of renewable energy investments into the South African economy.

“We are delighted the Golden Valley project has achieved COD [commercial operation date],” says Sunil Ramkillawan, CEO of Thebe Energy and Resources.

“Thebe’s investment, alongside BioTherm Energy, demonstrates a commitment to growing our portfolio of renewable energy assets and to contribute positively to our country, and deliver on our mandate of ‘building communities’ to make a significant economic impact in South Africa.”

BioTherm Energy’s portfolio extends across SA’s boarders into Kenya, where its fifth renewable energy asset is nearing operations, increasing the Pan-African renewable power producer’s portfolio close to 400MW.

“Bringing four IPPs into operation in South Africa over the last nine months under challenging circumstances has been a proud achievement for us,” says Robert Skjodt, CEO of BioTherm Energy, which is majority owned by Actis, an emerging markets investor.

“Our Kenyan wind energy project, southwest of Nairobi, is already connected to the country’s national grid and energised, so we expect to have our current portfolio fully operational before the close of this quarter.”

The Golden Valley Wind Energy Facility is located approximately 5km from Cookhouse, on 9 000 hectares of farm land.

It is connected to the grid through an on-site substation and a dedicated 132kV power line connecting to the Kopleegte substation.

BioTherm Energy says construction commenced two years ago and provided jobs to circa 500 workers, the majority of which came from its surrounding beneficiary communities within the Blue Crane Route Local Municipal area.

It adds these are the same communities that will continue to benefit from economic development programmes, during the 20-year operations period.

The focus will be on education, skills development, healthcare and local enterprise, addressed through collaboration and partnership with local stakeholders and members of the community, says the company.

“Golden Valley has committed a percentage of revenue earned to the community in the form of socio-economic and enterprise development investments,” says Skjodt.

“We are also in the process of establishing a community trust, which will belong to the community themselves. Through these initiatives, we are deeply committed to investing in areas of real need, and which result in long-term sustainable impact in our communities.”

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