14 June 2010

Wind farm electrifies South African World Cup

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South Africa's first commercial wind farm to provide power to Nelson Mandela Bay Football Stadium ahead of crucial England group game

The World Cup in South Africa has already had plenty of firsts – first World Cup to be held in Africa, first winter World Cup in decades, first opening ceremony to feature a giant dung beetle – but now it can add energy from South Africa's first commercial wind farm to the list.

Belgium-based wind farm developer Electrawinds announced over the weekend that it has won the race to connect its first South African wind turbine to the grid ahead of Friday's opening ceremony and has begun providing energy free of charge to the Nelson Mandela Bay Football Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The single 1.8MW Vestas V90 turbine has been under construction since May and will form part of a 45MW wind farm featuring 25 turbines that is expected to become South Africa's first commercial-scale wind farm.

The turbine is now expected to provide 5.7 million kWh of renewable energy a year, cutting carbon emissions by enough to offset the emissions required to fly more than 68,700 fans from London to the World Cup final in Johannesburg.

The project was supported by carbon consultancy CO2logic and will earn carbon credits through the UN-backed Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) offsetting scheme.

Speaking to BusinessGreen.com, Tanguy du Monceau, managing partner at CO2logic, said it was important that the first turbine had been connected to the grid ahead of the start of the World Cup.

"The turbine was connected just eight or nine days ago and the energy will now be provided to FIFA for free," he said. "The World Cup is an important event for South Africa's future and we wanted to show that renewable energy has a big part to play in that future. We wanted to show the world that it is possible to do renewable energy not just in Europe, but in Africa as well."

He added that while the project had faced a number of technical issues, including the need to import specialist cranes to erect the turbines, the connection of the first turbine demonstrated that it was technically feasible.

(BusinessGreen)

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