FOREFRONT: The go-ahead for the construction of a solar facility in the Coega IDZ makes it the fourth renewable energy investment within the IDC, alongside such major projects as the Mandela Bay Stadium.
The Eastern Cape is fast emerging as the leader in renewable energy industry in the country.
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has now been given the go-ahead by the national Department of Environmental Affairs for the construction of a 13MW photovoltaic solar facility worth R278m in zone 12 of the Coega industrial development zone (IDZ).
This makes it the fourth renewable energy investment within the IDZ. A German-based company, EAB Astrum Energy, will construct the photovoltaic solar facility, which will contribute immensely to job creation, revenue generation and advancing socio-economic development and transformation.
The CDC said to date wind projects with a combined capacity of more than 6000MW were at various stages of the environmental impact assessment, placing the province at the forefront of wind renewable energy projects.
Coega spokesperson Ayanda Vilakazi said the total of 6 032MW projects in the assessment process “outstrips Eskom’s Medupi coal-fired power station that is under construction and that will have an output of 4788MW”.
Another project in Nelson Mandela Bay by Electrawinds has been given permission to erect 25 wind turbines with a capacity of 74MW in the Coega IDZ. The company initially erected a turbine to generate power for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in 2010 and has already invested R1.2bn in the Coega wind farm project to power about 1700 households.
Vilakazi said: “Given the volume of both wind and solar projects both in province and nationally, there is a solid business case for component manufacturing in South Africa for wind and solar technologies.”
Other energy projects planned in the Eastern Cape include a wind farm in the Blue Crane municipality, and others in Cookhouse and Bedford. Another solar energy project is planned for Berlin near King William’s Town.