CONSTRUCTION IS FULL STEAM AHEAD
The 140MW Kangnas Wind Farm, which is currently under construction, will be one of South Africa’s largest wind farms when complete. Situated in the Northern Cape, in the North West corner of South Africa, the terrain is typical of the Springbok Flats Karoo Basin, with a rocky underlay prevalent in over 80% of foundation hardstands.
The wind farm is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year and once operational, will produce enough clean renewable power from its sixty-one wind turbines to power up to 120 000 South African homes. Comprising of 61 wind turbines, which stand at 115m-high, these impressive machines generate clean power with zero carbon emissions, in addition to using no water, which is very important in a drought prone area such as the Northern Cape.
Kangnas Wind Farm recently celebrated the simultaneous completion of two major construction milestones, namely the erection of the first of its 61 wind turbines and the completion of its final turbine foundation. Both of these milestones have been completed slightly ahead of schedule and within budget.
The first wind turbine lifting is a pivotal point in the construction of the wind farm, with the next major construction milestone being the arrival of the main transformer and the energisation of the substation. The turbine assembly takes roughly a day to complete, assuming that the weather is favourable. This time frame includes six hours for the upper tower sections, nacelle and rotor lift, in addition to almost three hours of pre-assembly work.
The turbine lifting exercise is rather complicated, with one of the two cranes raising the assembled 106 metre diameter rotor with the second crane providing support, this requires great skill and is a really impressive manoeuvre, making it a remarkable process to watch.
The final sixty-first foundation was simultaneously poured on site, ensuring the wind farm’s construction schedule remains on schedule for its anticipated Commercial Operations Date at the end of 2020.
The wind farm is currently providing employment to over two hundred and seventy five men and women from the surrounding local Springbok community, as this part of the construction process is the most reliant on labour.
In addition to currently providing hundreds of local jobs, Kangnas Wind Farm recently stepped in to provide funding for drought relief and to shore up the food security of the area, which is being threatened by this five-year long period of drought.
The wind farm has provided drought relief assistance to emerging sheep and cattle farmers in the Springbok area. These emerging farmers, who form part of the Boesmanland Farmers Union, have been struggling to feed their herds following the massive decrease in rainfall that has plagued the region.
Hundreds of school learners in the Springbok area are learning more about cleaner energy alternative, through Kangnas Wind Farm’s school renewable energy awareness programme, which is designed to provide insight into the renewable energy sector. The wind farm launched this programme a few months ago to broaden the learners’ understanding and experience of clean, green energy, with an emphasis on wind power.
Once the Kangnas Wind Farm is constructed, schools will be able to visit to experience the wind farm and also to see what the industry has to offer and envision a career in this exciting sector.
Renewable Energy in the Northern Cape:
The Northern Cape Province is home to more than half the country’s 112 renewable power energy producers, with more than 19 projects already connected to the country’s electricity grid. With over 60% of South Africa’s Independent Power Producers housed here, the Province not only plays host to solar farms but now boasts the second highest number of wind farms, testament to the areas immense solar and wind resources.
Just as important as the clean energy production, other wind and solar projects, just like Kangnas Wind Farm, bring jobs, investment; equity for local communities; skills development; and community economic development programmes to the Northern Cape Province. In fact, the DoE has reported that the Renewable Energy Sector, in the Northern Cape, created almost 24 000 job years, as of March 2018.