Energy Minister opens wind farm at Oyster Bay



Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters broke ground at the R2bn Red Cap Kouga Wind Farm project at Oyster Bay in the Eastern Cape today (Friday 15 March). The 32-turbine wind farm is on track to go operational in the final quarter of 2014 and will generate 80MW of clean and renewable power.

The Red Cap Kouga Wind Farm, which was named as one of the preferred bidders in the Government’s independent power producer procurement programme in December 2011, is expected to inject in excess of R250 million into community upliftment projects to be distributed through the Red Cap Kouga Community Development Trust.

“Today’s sod-turning ceremony will go down in history as a pivotal point in the local economic development of Oyster Bay and the Kouga region as a whole. A tremendous amount of work has gone into getting the project off the ground. We are proud to have been part of the process,” said Kouga Executive Mayor Koerat.

 “Our gratitude goes to all the role players for recognising Kouga’s potential to become the energy capital of South Africa. We look forward to working with each of you to help generate the power our country needs to fulfil its development goals.”

 “The construction of the Kouga Wind Farm is the realization of a dream to build a proudly South African wind farm with significant community ownership,” said Mark Tanton a director of the wind farm.

 The Red Cap Kouga Wind Farm project is funded by Evolution One Fund, a specialised clean energy fund advised by investment management firm Inspired Evolution, Standard Bank and the Industrial Development Corporation. Tanton said the outcome of the tender process indicated that Red Cap had the right business model to succeed when going up against a large majority of foreign backed players.

 Red Cap contracts in specific international expertise in the absence of local based expertise, but has partnered exclusively with South African companies to develop and own the wind farm, as it is committed to ensuring that significant skills transfer takes place.

 The current lack of local capacity will require Red Cap to import key technical supplies – the German turbine manufacturer Nordex is employed to provide the 2.5MW turbines – but Tanton expects the percentage of local content to increase significantly in future as renewable energy projects take off in South Africa and local industry has more certainty around volumes and time frames.

A defining feature of the Red Cap Kouga Wind Farm project is that it far exceeds the minimum threshold of 2.5% community participation set for each Renewable Energy Bid. The Trust, which holds a 26% shareholding in the project company courtesy of an Industrial Development Corporation loan, will derive income off the sale of electricity and this will be used to uplift the local community by funding health, welfare, education, local infrastructural and enterprise development projects.

 “The Red Cap Kouga Wind Farm looks forward to working closely with the diverse peoples in the Kouga region to ensure significant and sustainable benefits accrue to the region by virtue of our presence here over the next 20 years,” Tanton said.

More on Peters to follow soon…

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