Project Quick Facts

Location 30 km west of Humasdorp, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
Technology 31 Vestas V112 3.0MW Wind Turbines
Size 95MW
PPA 20 year government supported PPA with Eskom
Local
Community Shareholding
9%
RE IPP Status Round 2 Preferred Bidder
Technology Type Onshore Wind

Project Overview

The 95MW Tsitsikamma Community Wind Energy Facility (TCWF) is located approximately 30 km west of Humansdorp, south of the N2 National Road in the Tsitsikamma area, falling within the Koukamma Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.

The Project involves the construction and operation of 31 wind turbines and associated balance of plant infrastructure on the farm Wittekleibosch, owned by the Tsitsikamma Development Trust (TDT).

History
Wittekleibosch forms part of 19 farms purchased in 1994 by the Department of Land Affairs on behalf of the Mfengu tribe who was forcibly removed from the area in 1977. The Mfengu comprises four communities of which Wittekleibosch is one. The Project is unique in that it is constructed around the Wittekleibosch Community, a settlement developed in the 1990’s for the Mfengu people and beneficiaries of the TDT.

The Project is being developed by a Project Consortium consisting of Cennergi (Pty) Ltd (the lead equity provider with a 75% project shareholding), Watt Energy with a 16% shareholding, and the Tsitsikamma Development Trust with a 9% share. Vestas Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of the Danish based company and one of the leading wind turbine manufacturers globally, was appointed as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”), as well as the Operation & Maintenance (“O&M”) Contractor for the Project.

The Project was awarded Preferred Bidder in the DoE’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (“RE IPPPP”) in May 2012 and reached financial close in June 2013. The Project concluded a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with Eskom, and an Implementation Agreement with the Department of Energy, in May 2013. Construction activities commenced in September 2014 and plans to reach Commercial Operation Date (COD) by March 2016.

Sustainability
Key Project Benefits

  • Clean, zero-emission wind energy in South Africa
  • Direct and indirect employment
  • Long term Enterprise and Socio-Economic Development investments

Environmental Authorisation
The Project received Environmental Authorisation on 01 March 2012 and all other necessary regulatory approvals. A detailed Environmental Management Programme (“EMPr”) has been compiled for the construction, operation and decommissioning phases.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) provides an overall assessment of the social and biophysical environments affected by the project, and recommends appropriate mitigation measures.

Environmental Impact Assessment Process (PDF 3,5MB)
Environmental Management Programme (PDF 531KB)

Community Development Projects
House Relocation Project
During the initial stages of the Project development, it was noted that several old dilapidated farm houses, located on the outskirts of the community, were informally occupied by some of the Mfengu people. Owing to the setbacks required for wind turbines for noise and other safety concerns, these old farm houses restricted the useable land, and therefore impacted the competitiveness of the proposed wind farm. After an extended consultation period with the TDT and the affected beneficiaries, it was decided that the 7 farm houses would be demolished and replaced with 12 new houses located within the Wittekleibosch Community. The House Relocation Project therefore not only assisted TCWF in being awarded Preferred Bidder in the DoE’s RE Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, but it also improved the livelihood and the social unity of the beneficiaries involved. A BEE contractor was selected to build the 12 new houses, and this contract included the hiring of local labour from the Wittekleibosch Community.

Multi-Purpose Centre Upgrade
Located with the Wittekleibosch Community was an old farm building used by the Mfengu people as an office and a crèche. Like the old houses replaced under the House Relocation Project, this old building was in a poor condition, was not completely safe for use, and detracted from the natural beauty of the surrounding area. It was therefore agreed by the TDT and TCWF that the building would be renovated to provide a safe working area (ie. offices) for the community and a world class crèche for the children. A contractor with over 30 years’ experience in community development projects was hired to execute the complete rebuild using labour predominantly from the Wittekleibosch Community. This not only provided short term employment opportunities for the locals, but also provided much needed training and skill development.

Cattle Fencing
With the Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm (“TCWF”) being located in a rural farming area, and also around the Wittekleibosch Community, the interaction of cattle and construction activities was always a concern. In addition the old farm fences, installed by the commercial farmers previously occupying the land, were either no longer present or in a poor state or repair. TCWF therefore embarked on a tender process to employ a suitably qualified local contractor (within a 50km radius) to install 18 km of fencing. This project was successfully completed in early 2015. After the construction period, part of the fencing will remain to assist with the management of cattle and grazing activities.

Bush Clearing
Part of this prime agricultural area within the TCWF is infested with dense alien vegetation. As part of the Project’s Environmental Authorisation, the Department of Environmental Affairs recommend that this alien vegetation be removed. Removal of this vegetation will have positive environmental and agricultural benefits. Although the clearing of alien vegetation will be a long term initiative, owing to the sheer quantity of bush involved, a Contractor from the Wittekleibosch Community was employed to start on a small section on the north of the farm. With the rights training and support, the plan is to continue in the future with additional sections of alien vegetation removal.

Old Building Demolition
A Contractor from the Wittekleibosch Community was appointed to demolish and old dilapidated building. This building was previously used as an office by the Wittekleibosch Development Trust (“WDT”). However, owing to the remote location of the building, it was a target for break-ins and attracted vagrants. As a result, it was decided that the building would be demolished, and the office space previously used would be transferred to the newly upgraded Community Multi-Purpose Centre.

Cattle Kraal
A Contractor from a neighbouring community “Clarkson” has been appointed to construct a new cattle kraal for the community’s 400+ cattle. The Contract has been awarded and the project is expected to be completed in July 2015. The new kraal will be located in closer proximity to the Wittekleibosch Community, making it more secure and practical.

Project Milestones

Installation of MET Masts Dec 2010
Selection of Preferred Wind Turbine Supplier Dec 2011
Receipt of  Environmental Authorisation 1 Mar 2012
Receipt of Eskom Budget Quote Jan 2013
Receipt of Water Use License Mar 2013
Preferred Bidder May 2012
Financial Close June 2013
Site Establishment Sep 2014
Receipt of 1st set of 18 WTG’s at SA Port: 06 Aug 2015
Installation of 1st WTG on TCWF Site: 27 Aug 2015
Start of WEF Pre-Commissioning: 9 Sep 2015
Completion of WTG Foundations: 1 Oct 2015
Completion of WEF Roads: 29 Oct 2015
Eskom Grid Connection Date 24 Nov 2015
Commercial Operation Date: 17 August 2016