Sere wind farm of Eskom goes into full commercial production

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Eskom, the South African utility, recently brought its 100-megawatt Sere wind farm to full commercial operational capacity.

The Western Cape province-based wind farm, the first utility-scale clean energy project of Eskom, has been developed primarily using $45 million invested by African Development Bank in 2011 from its Clean Technology Fund.

Part of the project was also financed by The World Bank and the French Development Agency.

By one estimate, power generated by the plant would help reduce 6 million tons of carbon dioxide over its 20-year operational life. And on average the project is to produce 298,000 MWh of energy annually. It is adequate to meet the electricity needs of 124,000 households.

The wind farm construction began in December 2013 and comprises 46 wind turbines. A Skaapvlei substation and a 44-kilometre 132kV distribution line have also been completed.

Despite its capacity expansion Eskom has been facing a power crisis. Recently the utility announced plans to borrow 55 billion rand ($4.4 billion) and convert 60 billion rands ($4.8 billion) government debt to equity.

These measures are expected to improve the liquidity of the utility and expand its borrowing capacity.

The loan-to-equity conversion is part of a government financial package for Eskom, which includes a 23-billion rand ($1.8 billion) injection to help the utility plug a funding gap of 200 billion rand ($16.07 billion) for 2018.

Ajith Kumar S

[email protected]

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