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Construction of the Grassridge Wind Energy Facility in Nelson Mandela Bay officially began today, with project representatives from the Department of Energy (DoE), InnoWind (Pty) Ltd, PPC Ltd and community representatives from Motherwell turning the first soil of the R 1.2 billion wind farm.
The Grassridge wind farm forms part of the DoE's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme and is being established at PPC's Grassridge Quarry. It is one of the first renewable energy projects developed on an operating quarry in South Africa.
InnoWind, a local wind energy developer owned by EDF Energies Nouvelles has developed the project. The wind farm is owned by Grassridge Wind Power, a project company which comprises of InnoWind, the Industrial Development Corporation and the Grassridge Winds of Change Community Trust (a local development trust representing the interests of the Motherwell community).
This facility will consist of 20 Vestas V-112 3 MW wind turbines, with an installed capacity of 61.5 MW, delivering electricity equivalent to the annual consumption of approximately 40,000 households (160,000 people). The development is the first phase of possible future wind farm expansions in its vicinity.
"We have come a long way in bringing this project to fruition, and are all very excited to reach this milestone that is the start the construction of InnoWind's first wind farm in South Africa," said Kevin Minkoff, Project Manager at InnoWind.
According to Egmont Ottermann, Group Energy Manager at PPC Ltd, the wind farm forms part of the cement company's long-term rehabilitation plans for the mine. "PPC is committed to becoming a more sustainable company. This project is the first step in procuring power from renewable sources," Ottermann said.
The Grassridge Wind Farm will contribute to the DoE's 2011 determination to procure 3,725 MW of energy to be produced from renewable energy sources.
PPC and InnoWind are in discussions for a second phase, 24 MW wind farm under a bilateral power purchase agreement. When commissioned, this farm will supply 10% of PPC's electrical energy requirements in South Africa.
News date: 16/10/2013