About Noblesfontein Wind Farm
Beyond the valleys of Victoria West and Drie Susters in the Northern Cape lays a vast landscape now boasting a new kind of bloom. Noblesfontein Wind Farm is situated around 40km from Victoria West and is one of the first privately owned wind farms in the country. The erection of the wind turbines and completion of the wind farm was completed in 2014, with 41 towers currently in operation. The farm is the first phase of a bigger project in the area. The farm, which belongs to the Roux Family Trust, was chosen not only due to the position of the land, but also due to the family’s own commitment to renewable energy in South Africa. But the wind farm does not only focus on the environment through the use of alternative energy resources, but is also trying to give back through various projects in the community, with the Noblesfontein Enterprise Development Trust the most far-reaching; lending employment, training and support to members of the community.
Noblesfontein, situated 25km from Victoria West in the Western Cape, has been in the Roux Family Trust since the 1820’s and consists of 11 000 hectares of Karoo veld. It has an installed capacity of 73,8MW with 41 Vestas V100 turbines, each generating 1,8MW – amounting to an expected generation of 221,400 MHh annually.
“The idea happened by chance,” said Pieter Francois Roux from the Roux Family Trust and director of Sarge (South African Renewable Green Energy). “I want to be able to make a difference in the world and do something worthwhile in life so that I can lay my head down gently one day and feel content with things done well.” His focus has always been family, the environment and socio-economic growth.
Wind energy in South Africa started taking shape in the early 21st century. Eskom launched the Klipheuwel demonstration farm with the first wind turbine (660kW) erected in August 2002. Two more followed before February 2003 (1750kW and 750kW respectively).
During the same time frame, the Minister of Minerals and Energy declared the Darling National Demonstration Wind Farm in June 2000. Four units of 1,3MW each were launched.
There are currently a number of wind farm in South Africa, with a few more in the pipeline. The Kouga Wind Farm outside of Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape is probably one of the largest. The project, owned by the British company Globeleq, consists of 60 turbines with an output of 138 MW.
Noblesfontein Wind Farm currently has 41 Vestas turbines in operation. Each turbine, with a diameter of 110m can output 1800kW. They have signed a 20-year lease with Eskom to provide electricity directly into the grid.
The project comprises of 400 MW power generation capacity in total, consisting of 150 turbines, 41 with a rated output of 1.8 MW, which is installed on Noblesfontein. Another 109 turbines with a rated output of 3MW will follow soon on the nearby farmland (the C. The first phase, on Noblesfontein, (41 x 1,8MW) was commissioned in June 2014. The project was started in September 2013 and completed in June 2014. The wind farm is currently fully operational.
The completed project is expected to deliver, on average, an annual average of 872,256MWh of electricity to be supplied to the South African Power Grid over a ten-year crediting period.
With almost 90% of South Africa’s electricity generated through coal-fired power stations, the project will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and especially CO2 emissions, associated with coal dominated power generation in South Africa. The GHG emissions from wind turbines are zero, which will result in an annual reduction of around 846,960 tCO2e.
Noblesfontein Wind Farm is thus not only helping the overall environmental well being, but will also help supply energy to the already over-loaded Eskom power grid.
Furthermore the project aims to help the social-conomic well being of the area though new domestic industries created by the facilities as well as related requirements through green job creation. Job creation was boosted during the building phase of the project with permanent positions for a number of local residents. This is especially important in an area with high unemployment rates. Materials and equipment was also sourced locally where possible.
In addition, the creation of ‘green’ energy within the context of a green economy creates the potential for positive social spin-off effects, greater access to the benefits of the country’s natural resources and increased energy security.
The Noblesfontein Wind Farm Project became the first project with the involvement of the Spanish company, Gestamp Wind.