Kouga Wind Farm is a renewable energy project which makes the most of the fresh onshore breezes that sweep the Eastern Cape coastline of South Africa.

Situated approximately 70km southwest of Port Elizabeth – between Oyster Bay and St Francis Bay – the wind farm delivers 80 megawatts of grid-connected capacity in the quest to power the country’s low-carbon future.

According to the Department of Energy’s national integrated resource plan, the renewable energy sector is targeted to provide 42% of SA’s energy requirements by 2030, with wind farms playing an increasingly productive role.

Kouga Wind Farm alone mitigates over 300 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions each year and helps to create a brighter, cleaner future for the surrounding communities.

Farm facts

  • Number of turbines: 32
  • Total capacity: 80MW
  • Turbine type: Nordex 2.5MW N90
  • Hub height: 80m
  • Wind farm area: 2 948 hectares
  • Actual footprint: 28 hectares

Kouga Wind Farm is one of just 28 wind farms approved by the Department of Energy during round one of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme. It has been fully operational since March 2015.

These are the project partners who came together and combined their energies to realise the vision of Kouga Wind Farm.

Stakeholders:

Eskom
Department of Energy
Communities of Sea Vista and Umzamowethu
Kouga Local Municipality
Nordex Energy (Engineering, Procurement and Construction contractor)

Investors:

Stanlib (40.6%)
TriAlpha Investment Management (26.6%)
Kouga Wind Farm Community Development Trust (26.1%)
Red Cap Investments (5.5%)
Eurocape Renewables (1.2%)

Lenders:

Standard Bank
Liberty Group
Nedbank
Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa

For a comprehensive overview of wind energy in South Africa, visit the South African Wind Energy Association website. 

Q: How big is Kouga Wind Farm?
A: The farm itself is 2 948 hectares in total but the 32 turbines and their infrastructure cover an actual footprint of just 28 hectares. The rest is used for agriculture.

Q: What kind of turbines does Kouga Wind Farm use?
A: All 32 turbines belong to the Nordex N90 model, each with a capacity of 2.5MW (megawatts).

Q: How big are the turbines?
A: The hub height (at the top of the tower) is 80m, with a blade length of 45m.

Q: Why don’t the turbines turn all the time?
A: The turbines are in operation between 70 and 80% of the time. The turbines are dependent on high enough wind speeds to turn the blades. A minimum wind speed of around 13 or 14 kilometres per hour, or four metres per second, is required for the turbine to start turning. This is known as the cut-in speed.

Q: What happens when the wind reaches dangerous speeds?
A: As wind speed increases, the generator output of a turbine will increase. When the wind hits speeds of 12 to 13 metres per second, the turbine is usually operating at its rated capacity i.e. 2.5MW. If the wind speed increases, the turbine will remain operating at capacity. When the wind reaches cut-out speed, usually around 25 metres per second, the turbine will apply its own braking system and the blades will stop turning. The turbine then rotates 90 degrees out of the wind and parks itself. When the wind speed drops, the turbine rotates back into the wind, releases the brakes and starts operating again.

Q: How much energy does Kouga Wind Farm produce per year?
A: Kouga Wind Farm’s 32 turbines generate approximately 300 million kilowatt-hours of energy per year.

Q: In practical terms, what does 300 million kilowatt-hours of energy mean?
A: This is enough to supply approximately 50 000 average households with electricity for a year.

Q: How long will Kouga Wind Farm be in operation?
A: Kouga Wind Farm has a licence to operate for a 20-year period. Should the wind farm not apply to extend its tenure, it will proceed to the decommissioning stage, where the turbines will be taken down and all visible traces of the wind farm removed.

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