Today the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) granted a license for Eskom’s Sere wind farm, which will allow construction to go ahead on the R2,4 billion project. It is due to be in full commercial operation by the end of 2014.
“This is an exciting milestone in Eskom’s move towards a cleaner energy mix. Sere is our first large-scale renewable energy project. It demonstrates our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and to investing in a sustainable energy future,” said Eskom chief executive Brian Dames.
The Sere wind farm, located near Koekenaap (Vredendal area) in the Western Cape, will generate up to 100MW of power for the national grid, avoiding nearly 4.7 million tons of carbon emissions over 20 years.
The project has been funded by a group of development finance institutions, including the World Bank, African Development Bank, Clean Technology Fund and the Agence Française de Développement (A French Development Agency).
“We are very pleased that we have been able to take advantage of attractive financing from international development finance institutions to construct the project at costs which compare favourably with the market,” said Dames.
The levelised cost of the Sere plant compares favourably. So far, it shows an average of R1.14/kWh for the independent power producers procured in Phase 1 of the Department of Energy’s renewable energy programme, and 89.7 c/kWh in Phase 2. The total overnight cost of the Sere project (calculated at $2516/kWh) is within the International Energy Agency’s benchmarks.
What does this means for electricity consumers?
Eskom’s media desk said that this is one of their first renewable energy projects being launched to diversify energy sources and reduce gas emissions.
“This project will also ensure that there is enough energy capacity in the future,” said Eskom.
Although such projects will give relief to consumers from electricity restrictions in the future, Eskom has warned that people should still conserve electricity as far as possible.
“We aim to have enough energy capacity by 2018, but this does not mean that people should be wasteful. Even though there should be enough electricity capacity by 2018, many of our current older power stations will be out of use by then. We are currently still busy with maintenance on power stations and we still need the public’s assistance during the 5pm and 9pm peak hours,” said Eskom. For more information on Eskom's energy saving tips click here