The implementation of a renewable energy strategy by the Coega Development Corporation (CDC), one of the key players in the area of green energy, will undoubtedly contribute immensely to its objectives such as job creation, revenue generation and advancing socio-economic development and transformation in the Eastern Cape.
Currently, wind projects with a combined capacity of more than 6 000 MW are at various stages of the environmental impact assessment process (EIA) in the Eastern Cape, placing the province at the forefront of wind renewable energy projects.
This past week, Coega was given the go-ahead by the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for the construction of a 13MW photovoltaic solar facility worth R278 million in Zone 12 of the Coega Industrial Development Zone (Coega IDZ), making this the fourth renewable energy investment within the IDZ.
German-based EAB Astrum Energy (Pty) Ltd will construct the facility.
The total of 6 032 MW of energy projects still in the EIA process outstrips the Medupi coal-fired power station that is currently under construction and that will have an output of 4 788 MW.
Nationally, wind projects totaling 9 345MW are planned.
There are major projects which have been proposed for the Eastern Cape. In the Blue Crane Route Municipality Terra Wind has plans for a wind farm with a capacity of 1 713MW and another of 500 MW at Cookhouse and Windlab Developments is planning to erect 350 turbines with a capacity of 700 MW between Cookhouse and Bedford. While most of the proposed projects are in the western part of the Eastern Cape, there are others planned for Qunu and Ngqamakwe in the east.
In addition, 7 000 MW of solar power developments have also been announced, with Langa Energy having confirmed their investment in a 100MW photovoltaic facility at Berlin outside King William’s Town.
In Nelson Mandela Bay Electrawinds have already been issued with a Record of Decision following and EIA for the erection of 25 turbines with a capacity of 74MW in the Coega IDZ.
Electrawinds, which erected an initial turbine that was used to generate power for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium during the 2010 World Cup, is one of the companies in the first stage of the bidding process that will pave the way for Independent Power Producers (IPP) to supply energy to the national grid.
The company has invested R1.2 billion in the Coega Wind Farm project and each turbine has a capacity of 1.8 MW which translates into an annual yield of 5700KWh, enough energy to power about 1 700 households.
Once the project is in full swing, the electricity generated by the wind farm will be fed into the national grid and will be distributed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropole to households within the metro.
In the future, this will ensure electricity security and access to the latest technology in renewable energy for the metro and the broader Eastern Cape.
CDC Marketing & Communications Manager, Mr Ayanda Vilakazi says given the volume of both wind and solar projects both in the province and nationally there is a “solid business case” for component manufacturing in South Africa for wind and solar technologies.
He points out that there is a “huge market” particularly for solar PV and Off-Grid Technologies adding that the South African government is committed to reducing the country’s carbon footprint and “supports green technologies through various incentives”.
Vilakazi says the 7 000MW of solar power that is planned has increased the demand for localisation of solar PV panels.
He says the Coega IDZ is the “ideal manufacturing platform” for renewable energy components that, in addition to contributing to the battle against global warming, are revenue generating, create jobs and advance socio-economic development and transformation.
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