Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm Inaugurated
Driving along the N2 in the Eastern Cape it is impossible to miss Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm’s magnificent wind turbines standing proud as part of the country’s largest operational wind farm. Wednesday, 9 July 2014 saw the inauguration of this project, marking the completion of a six year journey through development, financing, construction and finally into operations. The 138MW power plant is a product of the South African Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme and will supply enough clean renewable electrical energy to meet the needs of over 100 000 average South African households.
“In a country struggling to meet its escalating demands for electricity we are proud to be contributing around 460 000 megawatt hours (MWh) per year of electrical energy to the national grid,” said Mark Pickering, General Manager of the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm. He continued saying, “It’s remarkable to consider that by the end of this year the country will have more than 400 turbines reaching into the sky, all helping to reduce the use of fossil fuels and precious water in meeting the country’s energy requirements.”
Over the next 20 years, the local communities living within a 50km radius of the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm will benefit from a range of socio-economic development programmes. These programmes will focus on early childhood development, as part of a crèche support programme; numeracy and literacy interventions at primary school level; mathematics and science programmes at secondary schooling level; and scholarships for engineering-related studies at tertiary level. The company will also establish an enterprise development programme that will initially focus on supporting emerging black farmers in the area.
The Amandla Omoya Community Trust, which owns 6% of the project, will run further developmental programmes to benefit the local community. “It is vital that renewable power brings positive benefits to local communities” added Pickering. “Wind farms across the country, both operational or currently under construction, will invest over R5 billion of their revenue into socio-economic and enterprise development initiatives over the next two decades. They will also create substantial employment opportunities, training and skills transfers. All of which are essential for the future of both the industry and the country”.
“Our Project has received resounding support from the Kouga Municipality and the surrounding communities. For this we are most grateful and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship,” concluded Pickering.