Wind farms to sport 57 turbines

Wind Farm in Kouga, Eastern Cape. Picture: Red Cap Energy

Wind Farm in Kouga, Eastern Cape. Picture: Red Cap Energy

Published Mar 3, 2024

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Cape Town - In a groundbreaking development for South Africa's renewable energy sector, the construction of Red Cap Energy's Impofu wind farms in Kouga in the Eastern Cape is set to start this month.

Spanning three 110-megawatt (MW) wind farms, the project represents the largest pure private renewable energy plant in the country's history.

Jadon Schmidt, Business Development Manager at Red Cap Energy, highlighted the extensive efforts undertaken to secure land parcels and engage with local stakeholders.

“Since 2013, we've signed up 87 separate parcels of land for the power line and spent years negotiating with farmers to lease land on which to build wind turbines. In total, the wind farms' 57 turbines will extend across 12 pieces of land with significant benefits for landowners and local agricultural output,” Schmidt said in a press release.

The project's success owes much to close collaboration with landowners, who helped to determine turbine placement and ensuring minimal disruption to agricultural activities.

Vernon Basson, owner of Vergaderingskraal, one of the land parcels leased for the Impofu project, underscored the smooth planning process and the careful consideration given to environmental factors.

“The whole process has been pretty smooth. I had a good idea of where I didn't want roadways to go, to make sure I didn't end up with unusable pieces of land. Besides that, I made suggestions about where it would and wouldn't work to put up the turbines. For example, if an area was too wet or difficult to access,” Basson said.

Once operational next year, the Impofu wind farms will supply 330MW of renewable energy to Sasol South Africa's Secunda site, benefiting from a groundbreaking 116-kilometre powerline – the longest privately permitted powerline for any renewable energy project in the country.

Reebok Rant Workers' Trust chairperson Xolile Peter Lamani expressed optimism about the plant's potential to boost local economies and agriculture. The additional income generated from leasing land for the turbines promises to support livelihoods and mitigate the impact of drought on farming communities.

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Weekend Argus

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