Belgian firm deploys 70 turbines at SA wind farms

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Belgian multinational company Sarens has played a critical role in installing 70 turbines at two wind farms in SA, as the country makes moves to add renewable energy sources to the grid.

Sarens is participating in the development of the renewable energy industry in Africa in the two new wind farms, Karosa and Soetwater, which are in the midst of construction in South Africa.

The company specialises in crane rental services, heavy lifting and engineered transport.

In a statement, the company says these two farm projects began in 2019 and work is expected to be finalised by the middle of the year.

The Belgian company has been in charge of transporting, lifting and placing 70 turbines that make up the projects.

When completed, these wind farms will produce 280 000kW of energy for the country, which, according to the United Nations Development Programme, would provide energy for 1 534 families in the region per year.

South Africa has been gradually making strides in adding green energy sources to the grid in a move aimed at plugging the country’s electricity shortfall.

This, as state-owned power utility Eskom, which provides over 90% of the county’s electricity, has over the years implemented multiple bouts of load-shedding, much to the detriment of the fragile economy.

In the midst of the electricity crisis, SA’s renewables sector is calling for the acceleration of green energy generation, as the country was last week again thrown into darkness by the latest bout of load-shedding.

Eskom suspended load-shedding at 8pm on Sunday.

Enel, through its renewable subsidiary Enel Green Power SA, commenced construction of the Karusa and Soetwater wind farms in 2019.

The wind farms will be supported by a 20-year power supply agreement with Eskom, in line with government’s independent power producer programme.

To start its work, Sarens says it mobilised all the necessary material and equipment from its headquarters in Port Elizabeth, a journey of approximately 1 290km by road.

It explains this entire process took two weeks from the headquarters to the location of the wind farms in the Northern Cape province.

The complexity of the journey lies in the amount of machinery transported; nevertheless, the result was a success, by using nine additional trucks to transport the AC500 crane, says the company.

The material and machinery selected for this job were chosen considering the relocation times. “Therefore, the trucks and cranes chosen for this job favoured a fast and optimal operation, eliminating any downtime,” Sarens says.

Once the equipment and material were at the first location, the company notes the construction took only 15 hours despite poor weather and terrain conditions.

Afterwards, it adds, the team moved on to the next plot, where the installation of a new turbine would be carried out.

According to Sarens, this process was repeated 70 times until all the turbines were assembled.

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