Enel announces operation of South Africa’s Nxuba wind farm

nxuba wind farm
Nxuba wind farm, credit: Enel

Enel Green Power RSA (EGP RSA) has successfully reached commercial operation on its 140MW Nxuba wind farm in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The Nxuba Wind Farm is expected to generate 460GW of energy annually and should help South Africa avoid the emission of approximately 460,000 tons of CO2 every year.

Salvatore Bernabei, Enel Green Power’s CEO, said the wind farm reaching commercial operation confirms the company’s commitment to South Africa, cementing its position as a leading independent power producer in the country. “We are continuing to make investments to further diversify the generation mix while promoting a sustainable and inclusive energy transition, creating shared value for our stakeholders,” said Bernabei.

The Nxuba Wind Farm is supported by a 20-year power supply agreement with Eskom and was built as one of five wind projects awarded to the Enel Group for 700MW of power during the fourth round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme in 2015.

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Nxuba going online means EGP RSA has 8 operational projects in South Africa, with an overall installed capacity of just more than 650MW. In the Eastern Cape EGP RSA has operates Nojoli (88MW) and Gibson Bay (111MW). In the Northern Cape they run solar plants Upington (10MW) and Adams (82.5MW). They are also responsible for Paleisheuwel (82.5MW) in the Western Cape, Pulida (82.5MW) in the Free State and Tom Burke (66MW) in Limpopo.

Garob in the Northern Cape and Oyster Bay in the Eastern Cape should commence full operation in the second quarter of 2021 while Karusa and Soetwater in the Karoo Hoogland will start operations in the fourth quarter. The last four will all have an installed capacity of 140MW.

Wind farm construction involved local community in more ways than expected

The construction of Nxuba wind farm involved a skills transfer element with EGP RSA using small and medium enterprises from the local Blue Crane Route and Raymond Mhlaba municipalities during the construction process. The concrete tower sections of the wind turbines were manufactured locally in the town of Somerset East.

The facility also used digital tools to perform on-site quality checks and smart tracking of wind turbine components. Using innovative solutions allowed for more reliable and precise data collection which improved the quality of work while streamlining communication between workers on- and off-site.

Rigorous safety protocols were implemented in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, applying to both workers involved in construction and the communities where the wind park is installed. This included preventative quarantine for workers moving off site, social distancing and testing campaigns on the construction sites.

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