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First REIPPP wind farm in commercial operation

By Jenna Wilson on 10 February 2014

Hopefield, Western Cape, 10 February 2014: A major milestone for the South African wind energy industry was reached last week on 1 February 2014 when Hopefield Wind Farm achieved its Commercial Operation Date (COD) - the first REIPPPP wind project to do so.

Situated 5km southeast of Hopefield in the Western Cape, the wind farm comprises 37 wind turbines with an aggregate capacity of 66MW. Construction began in late 2012 and was completed on schedule and to budget.

Umoya Energy (the Cape Town-based owner and developer) was awarded a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in Round One of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) which is promoting the development of renewable energy projects throughout the country.

Hopefield Wind farm will generate enough electricity to power approximately 70,000 low-income homes or 29,000 medium-income homes. To produce the same amount of electricity, an average South African coal-fired power station would emit approximately 195,000 tons of CO2 every year. Avoiding these CO2 emissions is equivalent to taking over 40,000 cars off the road.

A significant number of jobs have already been created by the project. During construction phase more than 300 people were employed from the local area alone. In addition, opportunities are being created for local suppliers and service providers, which will continue throughout the project’s 20 year life.

Vestas Southern Africa, supported by key electrical sub-contractors Conco, and civil engineering contractors Power Westland JV, is the EPC contractor responsible for wind turbine supply and wind farm construction, as well as operation and maintenance for the first 15 years. The company has recruited full-time operations personnel in the Western Cape who are undergoing training to operate and maintain this wind farm and others in the region.

The Hopefield Wind Farm Local Community Company (a Section 21 not-for-profit company that owns 5% of the wind farm) will channel Enterprise Development and Socio-Economic Development funding from the project over its 20 year life into the local community and administer various initiatives designed to benefit the community and foster education, particularly in regard to maths and science, the environment and sustainability. The first project to be commenced in 2014 will be to provide insulation improvements and solar geysers to economically disadvantaged families in Hopefield.

 

About Umoya Energy

Umoya Energy (RF) Pty Ltd was established in 2008 to develop and own Hopefield Wind Farm. The cornerstone shareholders include African Infrastructure Investment Fund (AIIF), Kagiso Infrastructure Empowerment Fund (KIEF) and the IDEAS Managed Fund, managed by African Infrastructure Investment Managers (Pty) Ltd, Infrastructure Empowerment Fund Managers (Pty) Ltd and Old Mutual Investment Group (Pty) Ltd respectively. These funds together with their fund managers bring extensive experience and expertise, together with the requisite finance capacity to undertake a project of this scale.

Project Financing

Project financing amounted to circa R1.45bn. Equity was provided by infrastructure funds AIIF, KIEF and IDEAS. Rand Merchant Bank, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited, provided debt funding.

About Vestas

Every single day, Vestas wind turbines deliver clean energy that supports the global fight against climate change. Wind power from Vestas’ more than 49,000 wind turbines currently reduces carbon emissions by over 60 million tons of CO2 every year, while at the same time building energy security and independence. Today, Vestas has installed turbines in 73 countries, providing jobs for around 17,000 passionate people at our service and project sites, research facilities, factories and offices all over the world. With 62 per cent more megawatts installed than our closest competitor and more than 56 GW of cumulative installed capacity worldwide, Vestas is the world leader in wind energy.

The headquarters of Vestas Central Europe is located in Hamburg, Germany. The business unit is responsible for the sales and marketing of wind power systems as well as for the installation and operation of wind power plants in Germany, Benelux, Austria, Russia, Eastern Europe and Southern and Eastern Africa. Vestas Southern Africa is based in Johannesburg and operates at a number of wind farm sites around South Africa.

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