Exxaro/Tata power project talks big plans

After reaching financial closure on its R7bn wind power projects, Cennergi, the one year old renewable energy concern started by Exxaro and Tata Power, is talking big expansion plans within the African continent.

Cennergi announced yesterday that it has achieved financial closure on the 229MW of wind power projects in the Eastern Cape. The company said it has signed its Purchase Power Agreements (PPA) and Implementation Agreements (IA) with the relevant stakeholders.

This touches two Eastern Cape projects. There is the Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm project, a 134MW wind farm located near the town of Bedford.  There is also the Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm, a 95MW wind farm located on the amaMfengu community land.

In a statement released yesterday the company firmed up its intentions to embark on an acquisitive acquisition trail.  Now that it has successfully closed two renewable projects, it is casting the net wider to include coal, gas and hydro projects. The technologies used in these kinds of projects will be “cleaner energy” technologies, but not constrained to renewable technologies only.

Cennergi CEO Thomas Garner said last week’s financial closure represented “another significant step on the road to achieving the goal of becoming the region’s leading independent power producer”.

“What’s more significant is that these two wind projects consist of 229MW, which is 35% of the wind allocation of the REIPPPP Round 2.”

Execution of the projects will then begin, although significant work on the sites will formally start in 2014.

The Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm is set to feature 56 Nordex turbines of 80 m hub height and 2.4 MW capacity. The Cookhouse and Bedford Community Trusts together own 5% of the equity of the project.

The Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm is a joint development with Watt Energy and the Tsitsikamma Development Trust. It will feature 31 Vestas wind turbines with a hub height of 94m, each with a capacity of 3MW. Cennergi owns 75% of this project while Watt Energy and the Trust own 25%.

Cennergi added that the financial close of these two wind projects is a promise of hope for the Eastern Cape communities surrounding the projects. The company said it has a focused and dedicated economic development programme within each energy project, aimed at developing and uplifting the communities situated within the direct vicinity of each power project.

“The projects’ commitment to socio-economic development was clearly communicated to the communities through general and forum meetings and other communication tools such as the quarterly newsletters that are distributed in these communities. In this case, both project communities understand very well that reaching financial close will be a beginning of greater things for them,” said Noxolo Mbana, Cennergi’s Executive Manager: Sustainability & Economic Development.

“As a Bedford community member, financial close means the start of the construction phase of the project, which will in turn bring about jobs and skills development programmes into our community,” said Dr Lana-Lorraine Blom, Bedford community member and Project Co-ordinator for Thembani SDCC & Bedford Integrated Projects.

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