Commercial operations for one of South Africa’s largest wind farms was officially launched last week in the Northern Cape’s locality of Roggeveld. With 147 MW installed capacity and capable of generating close to 613 GWh per year, the Roggeveld wind farm facility is set to power 49,200 households through the Eskom grid, mitigating against 502,900 tonnes of carbon emissions throughout its lifecycle. Seven years from concession to commercialization, the Roggeveld facility also boasts the lowest ever electricity tariff to have achieved financial close in South Africa.
The Roggeveld project was conceived of by South African project developer, G7 Renewables Energies who were awarded concession for the wind farm in 2015 as part of round 4 of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Program (REIPPPP). The company were also the first to sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) on April 4, 2018 amongst the other 27 bid window winners of national government’s REIPPPP. The 20-year contract, as wind energy supplier to Eskom, has included a handover of the project from G7 to Building Energy, a subsidiary of emerging African IPP, Red Rocket in conjunction with AIIM’s IDEAS fund.
Construction and procurement of the wind facility was carried out through German wind power specialists, Nordex on an EPC contract who were subsequently also granted a 15-year service contract for the wind farm. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $4.4 billion and is set to create approximately 61, 000 jobs. Key funders have included the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Old Mutual, Rand Merchant Bank and H1 Holdings.
The Roggeveld wind farm has been launched exactly a year to the day that Red Rocket began commercial operations of the smaller 4 MW hydroelectric plant at Kruisvallei in the Free State province, in partnership with H1 Holdings. Both facilities experienced minor delays in construction as a result of COVID-19 impacts.
With the Roggeveld wind farm facility’s 47 turbines linked up and online, Red Rocket’s portfolio now includes 370 MW in plants either operational, under construction or been awarded preferred bidder status. The company is set to reach financial close with $1 billion invested and on track with a pipeline of 2.0 GW in wind, hydro and solar projects, throughout the African continent.