DURBAN - BioTherm Energy, a Pan-African renewable power producer company, backed by emerging market investor Actis, has announced the official operations of its Excelsior Wind Energy Facility as of the end of 2020.
This is said to mark the completion of its third Independent Power Producer (IPP) in South Africa in 2020 as part of the fourth round of the Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, boasting a combined generating capacity of 165MW of the country’s renewable energy production.
The Excelsior Wind Energy Facility, a 33MW plant located in the he Western Cape, successfully achieved its commercial operations on 23 December 2020. It added to the already achieved commercial operation of the 132MW combined capacity of the solar plants Aggeneys and Konkoonsies II earlier in the year.
BioTherm Energy chief executive Robert Skjodt said that they ended 2020 on a high note, having led three IPP’s to commercial operations, whilst having connected their fourth project to the grid expecting commercial operation in the first quarter of this year further adding another 120MW to their generating capacity in South Africa.
The company’s portfolio of pan-African projects includes what will be Kenya’s second largest wind farm, the 100MW Kipeto Wind energy project undergoing commissioning southwest of Nairobi.
Thebe Investment Corporation (TIC), has a 37.5 percent stake in BioTherm Energy’s four South African energy projects.
Thebe Energy and Resources chief executive Sunil Ramkillawan said they were delighted to be contributing to South Africa’s clean energy power portfolio as the country transitions away from thermal technologies to deliver affordable energy to our people, whilst also contributing to climate change imperatives.
Excelsior Wind has a direct connection to the Vryheid substation, via an on-site substation and a dedicated 132 kV power line. It will feed over 132GWh of renewable power into the national grid which will be enough to power an estimated 35 000 South African homes per annum.
The wind farm is constructed on 2300 hectares of land in Swellendam, an area known as one of the largest agricultural producing areas in the country. By the nature of wind power, over 90 percent of the land on the site will continue to yield agricultural crops as well as sustain livestock farming.
The construction of the plant commenced two years ago and provided jobs to about 380 workers, the majority of which came from its surrounding beneficiary communities within the Overberg Municipality. These very same community stand to benefit from the economic development programmes, through the 20-year operations period of the plant.
The focus of the economic development initiatives is said to include education skills development, and environmental stewardship amongst others.
During the construction programme a number of early spend programmes were implemented, focused on the provision of secondary school study guides across various subjects for Grades 8 to 12. This is in addition to the various Covid-19 relief programmes, aimed at alleviating the impact of the pandemic on local communities.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE