Massive wind farm comes online in the Eastern Cape – with power for up to 120,000 households a year

BioTherm Energy has announced the completion of its Golden Valley wind energy facility in the Eastern Cape.

The R6.5 billion investment connects 284MW into South Africa’s national grid and is partnered by Thebe Investment Corporation (TIC).

The facility reached commercial operations on 1 May 2021, and is expected to generate over 477GWh of renewable power each year – equivalent to the energy needs of approximately 120,000 households.

It joins the company’s Excelsior wind energy facility in the Western Cape and two solar PV projects in the Northern Cape, all of which form part of the government’s renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme’s fourth bid round.

The Golden Valley wind energy facility is located approximately five kilometres from Cookhouse, on 9,000 hectares of farm land. It is connected to the grid through an on-site substation and a dedicated 132 kV power line connecting to the Kopleegte substation.

Construction commenced two years ago and provided jobs to around 500 workers, the majority of which came from its surrounding beneficiary communities within the Blue Crane Route local municipal area.

Climate change hurting the economy 

In a statement at the end of April, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that climate change was a core focus of his presidency as it seen to hurt South Africa’s economy.

Ramaphosa pointed to the prolonged drought in parts of the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape which caused water shortages, widespread crop failure and negatively affected both commercial and subsistence farming.

This in turn had a national impact, he said.

“It drove up food prices, particularly of basic staples such as maize meal, contributing to food insecurity in poor households. It affected the broader economy, as the yield of key agricultural exports declined.”

“Unless we act with urgency, we could find our developmental gains being reversed and our ability to overcome poverty, joblessness and inequality severely constrained.”

Ramaphosa said that government plans to introduce regulations to limit the damage of climate change through the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which outlines targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Each country submits these targets to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change every five years.

“Last month we published our updated NDC for public comment ahead of submission to the Glasgow Summit in November,” he said.

“Our new NDC proposes a significant reduction in emissions target ranges. By implementing our mitigation strategy, we aim to see our carbon emissions progressively declining from 2025. This is a decade earlier than previously expected.”

Read: Schools and other government buildings in South Africa to be solar powered: minister

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Massive wind farm comes online in the Eastern Cape – with power for up to 120,000 households a year