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BRICS Insight on the largest operational wind power project in South Africa

The Longyuan South Africa De Aar Wind Power Project exemplifies the strengthening bond between China and South Africa, fostering a robust partnership in the realm of renewable energy.

South Africa Johannesburg DIRCO BRICS update. 20 July 2023. Ambassador Anil Sooklal, during the DIRCO press update on South Africa geo-political relationships. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 21, 2023


Professor Anil Sooklal, Ambassador-at-Large for Asia and BRICS and South Africa's BRICS Sherpa on Sunday at the 6th BRICS Media summit presented a report on the Longyuan South Africa De Aar Wind Power Project and its consequential Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiatives undertaken by Longyuan.

Sooklal said the venture holds a pivotal role in the shared pursuit of sustainable development.

About 200 deputies from around 100 media outlets, think tanks and international organisations from about 30 countries held discussions under the theme of "BRICS and Africa: Strengthening Media Dialogue for a Shared and Unbiased Future."

The sixth forum, co-hosted by Xinhua News Agency and the China Energy Investment Corporation (China Energy) as well as organisations from South Africa, aims to promote practical cooperation among BRICS media outlets.

Sooklal said the project stands as a beacon of progress, marking the first wind power endeavour on the African continent with an impressive total installed capacity of 244,500 kilowatts.

He said the landmark initiative holds the title of the largest operational wind power project in South Africa.

“In the year 2011, Longyuan South Africa Renewables, or Longyuan SA, was established—a steadfast subsidiary of the globally renowned China Longyuan Power Group Corporation, the world's foremost wind-power developer.

“Nestled within the embrace of the Emthanjeni Local Municipality in the Northern Cape, the Longyuan (SA) De Aar Wind Power Project plays a vital role in ameliorating our nation's ongoing energy challenges. Longyuan SA's unwavering commitment to renewable energy contributes significantly to global green and low-carbon initiatives.”

Sooklal said the project is testament to collaboration and innovation evidenced by achievements in October 2013, when Longyuan SA Renewables emerged triumphant in the competitive Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) by securing two wind power projects in the Northern Cape—a collective investment totalling R5 billion.

“Amidst a landscape marred by energy shortages, unexpected power outages, and soaring tariffs, Longyuan SA's wind power project has arrived as a beacon of hope, particularly for those within the Northern Cape.

“The De Aar Wind Energy Facility, situated in the embrace of Maanhaarberg near De Aar, commenced its wind power operations in 2017, making a significant stride towards green and sustainable energy generation.”

He said the project exemplifies the strengthening bond between China and South Africa, fostering a robust partnership in the realm of renewable energy.

“By harnessing the power of 163 domestically produced United Power 1.5 MW wind turbines, Longyuan SA has galvanised an impressive transformation, providing affordable, clean energy equivalent to 644 million kWh annually—enough to light up the lives of 85,000 households while concurrently diminishing our carbon footprint.”

He said Longyuan SA has also embedded itself within local communities, fostering education, healthcare, and economic empowerment.

“The company's noble endeavours, from uplifting educational programs for underprivileged students to bolstering health services, exemplify an unwavering commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“As we reflect on the challenges facing our world, the BRICS nations stand united in their commitment to fostering socially responsible corporate sectors and entrepreneurs—visionaries capable of addressing the complex developmental issues that define our time.

“This symposium serves as a testament to our dedication to collaborative, innovative solutions,” Sooklal said.