Siemens South Africa is speeding towards rolling out its alternative energy projects in two provinces, the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape, with sod turning ceremonies set for this week.
Siemens in partnership with empowerment firms; Thebe Investments, Enzani Technologies and Usizo Engineering; secured the projects under the Independent Power Producers Programme recently launched by South Africa. The country is looking to diversify its power sources with an emphasis in migrating towards renewable energy.
Siemens said the electricity generated from the wind and the sun will soon be nothing foreign to the people of Jeffreys bay, in the Eastern Cape, where a 138 megawatts onshore wind farm is to be constructed. The same applies to De Aar and Droogfontein, in the Northern Cape, where two 50 megawatts solar farms are to be built. Siemens will be turning the sod to mark the beginning of the construction of South Africa’s round one of renewable energies projects under Independent Power Producers Programme. The event at Jeffreys bay wind farm will be on 04 February, followed by De Aar and Droogfontein photovoltaic farms on 6-7 February respectively.
The electricity that will be generated from the three renewable projects energy is estimated to be able to power approximately 130 00 households with eco-friendly electricity. According to Ute Menikheim, Siemens Energy CEO for Africa, the projects will also be life changing for poor communities in these areas. “Direct and indirect jobs will be created especially during the construction phase. The localisation of supply of certain components, which is about 30 percent of the project, also meant that we are also helping to build competitive local industry manufacturers. We are also very excited that apart from the local communities in the project areas, we are working with Thebe Investments, Enzani Technologies and Usizo Engineering as our empowerment partners,” she said.
“We are also very excited that the wind farm in the Eastern Cape comes at the time when Siemens, in collaboration with the Mvezo Development Trust, is building the Nelson Mandela School of Science and Technology in the rural village of Mvezo, where the former statesman was born,” says Menikheim.
She says the projects will “enable us to also increase our empowerment footprint.” With Siemens South Africa spending exceeding R2 billion, the company has the potential to contribute the lasting, real and sustainable impact on the local economy and the promotion and development of small and medium sized enterprises (SME) and black-owned companies.
The projects follow South Africa’s government’s ambition to add approximately 20000 megawatts/peak of renewable electricity by 2030. The goal is to upgrade the country’s power supply and increase the number of electricity providers and operators in the domestic energy market.
The role of renewables in the energy mix is expected to grow strongly over the next few years, not only in South Africa but on the African continent as a whole. Currently, Africa has approximately 580 million people who do not have access to reliable electricity supply. “These projects will help to increase the energy security of our country and also lowering our carbon footprint which is amongst of the highest in the world, says Menikheim.
Siemens will erect the photovoltaic plants, each covering an area of about one square kilometre, as a turnkey project. The delivery package for power plants comprises in each case the planning, construction, and commissioning of the plants, as well as a five-year operating and maintenance agreement.
For the Jeffreys Bay wind farm, Siemens is to deliver 60 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 2.3 MW and a rotor diameter of 101 metres, which the company will also install and commission. In addition, Siemens will carry out maintenance on the turbines for a period of 10 years. The long-term parts and services agreement represents the first wind service agreement for Siemens in South Africa and the largest onshore for the region.
With this project, Siemens wind power service paves the way for further projects in South Africa, especially for service on new projects that could benefit from the set up and the experience at Jeffrey’s Bay. The wind farm is scheduled to start producing electricity in 2014.