South Africa is set on strengthening its wind farm energy program, with a number of large-scale wind farms now operating in the country – and even more planned for the future.
According to the department of energy, South Africa has a high level of Renewable Energy potential and presently has in place a target of 10,000 GWh of Renewable Energy.
The Minister has determined that 3,725 megawatts (MW) to be generated from Renewable Energy sources is required to ensure the continued uninterrupted supply of electricity in the country.
Aside from numerous solar projects, the department is also focusing on other sources renewable energy, such as wind farms.
In 2014, the first independent large-scale wind farm became operational in the Eastern Cape, which is now home to four of the country’s largest operations – with many more planned.
Here are South Africa’s 5 largest wind farms.
5. Nobelsfontein Wind Farm – Northern Cape – 73.8 MW
The Nobelsfontaine Wind Farm is located in the Karoo (Northern Cape) and has an installed capacity of 73,8 MW.
The project consists of 41 turbines with an expected generation of 221,400 MWh per year.
4. Sere – Western Cape – 100 MW
In May 2013, Nersa granted Eskom a licence for its Sere wind farm in the Western Cape. The project came online in April 2015.
The R2.4 billion project is made up of 46 Siemens 2.3-108 wind turbine generators, and has a generation cpacity of 100 MW, and an average annual energy production of about 233,000MWh.
3. Dorper WF – Eastern Cape – 100 MW
The Dorper Wind Farm, located almost midway between the towns of Sterkstroom and Molteno in the Eastern Cape, came online in August 2014.
The wind farm consists of 40 Nordex 2.5MW wind turbines, having a nominal aggregate production output of 100MW.
2. Jeffery’s Bay – Eastern Cape – 136 MW
Located between Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape, the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm site spans 3700 hectares.
The farm started operating in mid-2014, and should supply 460,000 MWh per year, enough to meet the demands of 100,000 average South African households.
1. Cookhouse – Eastern Cape – 138.6 MW
The Cookhouse Wind Farm edges past Jeffery’s Bay with a capacity of 138.6 MW.
The power plant comprises 66 turbines, which are 80m in height, and should generate enough power to keep 138,000 low-income houses going.
More to come
In June, a government tender to install 250 MW of wind generating capacity was awarded to a consortium led by an Ireland-based wind and solar company.
The award was made under the fourth round of the government’s Renewable Energy Procurement Programme. The two wind farms represent an investment of about R5.9 billion.
These two new projects are the 140 MW Kangnas wind farm located in the Nama Khoi municipality in the Northern Cape, and the 110 MW Perdekraal East wind farm located in the Cape Winelands district and Witzenberg local municipalities of the Western Cape.
Another large-scale wind farm project currently in development is the Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm near Bedford in the Eastern Cape.
The first phase of the project is currently under construction, which, upon completion, will add 134.4 MW to the grid.
According to project plans, there is a total generation capacity of 750 MW planned.
Top 5 wind farms in the world
5. Roscoe Wind Farm – USA – 781.5 MW
Roscoe Wind Farm, located in Texas is one of the world’s largest capacity wind farms with 634 wind turbines and a total installed capacity of 781.5 MW.
4. Shepherds Flat Wind Farm – USA – 845 MW
The USA’s second largest wind farm is located in Eastern Oregon, and carries a total capacity of 845 MW.
3. Jaisalmer Wind Park – India – 1,064 MW
The Jaisalmer Wind Park is India’s Largest operational onshore wind farm with a total capacity of 1,064 MW.
2. Alta Wind Energy Center – USA – 1,320 MW
The Alta Wind Energy Center is a wind farm located in Tehachapi Pass of the Tehachapi Mountains, in Kern County, California.
It is the largest wind farm in the USA, with a combined installed capacity of 1,320 MW, almost 10 times as much as South Africa’s biggest farm.
The project is expected to reach 1,500 MW by 2017.
1. Gansu – China – 7,965 MW
China is home to the world’s biggest wind farm by a large margin.
The Gansu Wind Farm in the western Gansu province in China has similar capacity to a nuclear power plant.
With a current output of 7,965 MW, it stretches past the Alta Wind Energy Center by a massive margin – and is expected to reach its final output of a whopping 20 gigawatts by 2020.
(Image source: Wikipedia and respective project sites)