R9bn SA wind energy deal for Irish firm

1 November 2013

A consortium led by Ireland-based company Mainstream Renewable Power was this week awarded preferred bidder status for three large-scale wind energy projects in the Northern Cape under the South African government’s renewable energy programme for independent power producers.

The Department of Energy is scheduled to officially announce the preferred bidders on Monday for the third round of its programme, which aims to add 17 800 MW from renewable sources to South Africa’s energy mix by 2030.

The Mainstream consortium, which was confirmed on Tuesday as one of the preferred bidders, will invest about R9-billion in building three wind farms with a combined generation capacity of 360 MW: the 140 MW Khobab wind farm and the 140 MW Loeriesfontein 2 wind farm, both located in the Namakwa district of the Northern Cape, and the 80 MW Noupoort wind farm located in province’s Umsobomvu local municipality.

A Mainstream consortium was also awarded 238 megawatts of wind and solar projects in the first round of the programme in 2011 – a 138 MW wind farm in Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape, and two 50 MW solar photovoltaic parks in the Northern Cape – and all three projects are on track to be fully operational by mid-2014.

“Mainstream is now the leading developer of renewable energy in South Africa,” company chief executive Eddie O’Connor said in a statement on Tuesday. “We have three wind and solar projects due to be operational in the coming months, and now a further three large-scale wind farms due to start construction next year.

“I congratulate the South African government for putting in place a process which is truly world-class and for the superb manner in which it has been executed.”

According to the company, the three projects are expected to reach financial close by August 2014 and commence construction shortly thereafter.

Mainstream will be building the wind farms in partnership with South African renewable energy developer Genesis Eco-Energy, local investment companies Thebe Investment Corporation, Futuregrowth Asset Management and Old Mutual’s IDEAS Managed Fund, and local community members.

SAinfo reporter