Cape Town - The SA Renewable Technology Centre (Saretec) took a turn towards completion on Thursday when three large components of the 2.5 megawatt wind turbine were lifted into position on the Sacks Circle boundary of CPUT’s Bellville campus.
The centre, a collaboration among higher education institutions in the Western Cape, will function as a national training facility for wind turbine service and solar photovoltaic technicians.
The first of its kind in Africa, the centre is funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training to the tune of R105-million and will have its first intake of students next year. The project is also supported by the German development agency GIZ, the SA National Energy Development Institute and Green Cape.
The components added – a wind turbine nacelle, hub and drivetrain – were donated by German wind turbine manufacturer Nordex and weigh a whopping 126 tons in total. The 49 ton nacelle was lifted on to the floor slab, followed by the 45 ton drivetrain. The 26 ton hub (the part to which the blades are normally attached) was then lifted, turned, and placed in position in front of the nacelle-drivetrain assembly.
Howard Fawkes, project manager, spoke to the Cape Argus as the hub was being shifted into place: “It’s gone slowly, but successfully. To assemble two such huge components is quite an art.”
The centre will be used purely for training purposes – technicians will learn how to install, operate and maintain the massive wind structures that will bring about 400MW of power to South Africa each year.
The turbine will be operational after power and control cables are commissioned and connected from the nacelle through the drivetrain to the hub. Fawkes said the centre was due to be complete by the end of February.