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FEATURE STORY

Sere Wind Farm Stands Ready to Provide Electricity to Thousands of South Africans

November 13, 2014

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The wind turbines are 115 meters high, towering over shrubs in the Western Cape of South Africa.

World Bank Group

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • In December, Sere Wind Farm turbines will twirl to the winds of the Western Cape Province, generating much-awaited electricity to approximately 124,000 standard homes
  • The development of Sere Wind Farm is part of South Africa’s efforts to diversify its energy mix to reduce reliance on coal, and transition to a low-carbon economy
  • It is the first commercial-scale wind energy project financed by the World Bank Group under its Eskom Renewables Support Project

WESTERN CAPE, November 13, 2014 – In a remote part of Western Cape Province, wind power turbines tower over the fynbos at 115 meters high, standing ready to generate electricity. This is the Sere Wind Farm, the first commercial-scale wind energy project financed by the World Bank Group (WBG) under its Eskom Renewables Support Project.

This month, the transformers on the first string of seven wind turbine generators were energized, paving the way to proceed with the wind farm’s commission in December 2014. Full commercial operation is expected to be completed by the end of March 2015.

“We are very excited about Sere going live,” said Eskom CEO, Tshediso Matona. “Renewable energy is an important source for a country with growing energy demands.”

The development of the100MW Sere Wind Farm is part of South Africa’s efforts to diversify its energy mix to reduce reliance on coal, and transition to a low-carbon economy over the long term. Sere is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to six million tonnes over 20 years. With an average annual energy production of about 298,000 MWh, Sere will supply sufficient energy to the grid to power approximately 124,000 standard homes. 



" This wind farm demonstrates the innovation taking place in the country, to harness renewable energy to meet the country's growing power needs and spur growth "
Asad Alam

Asad Alam

WBG country director for South Africa


Located on the Atlantic coast, some 300km north of Cape Town, the Sere Wind Farm is spread over 3,700 hectares with 46 wind power turbines placed 500 meters apart. In total, the components of the turbine generators weigh 470 tons, and were transported from Saldana Bay by road.

“The project is an important complement to South Africa’s private-sector renewable energy program as it demonstrates a utility scale wind power plant build to the latest technology standards to maximize energy output,” said Paivi Koljonen, WBG lead energy specialist.

During the peak construction phase, 569 people were employed on site, including semi-skilled workers and technical experts by the main contractor, Siemens Wind Power A/S. Since September 2011, the project has clocked up to 1.2 million working hours. Some of the local laborers have been trained in specialized skills such as erecting turbines and connecting bolts at great heights, enhancing their skills to realize employment opportunities in similar projects in the future.

In addition to Sere, Eskom is also developing a 100 MW Concentrating Solar Plant (CSP) project near Upington in the Northern Cape. Similar to the Sere Wind Farm, CSP is a part of scaling up renewable energy supported by development finance institutions, including the WBG along with the Climate Investment Funds. The project is at procurement stage currently.

The Eskom Renewables Support Project is financed with loans from the WBG, the Climate Investment Fund, the African Development Bank and the Agence Française de Dévelopement.


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