Empowering disadvantaged local communities is the hub around which Kouga Wind Farm’s operations turn. The forecast economic development spend in the community is R800-million over the 20-year lifespan of the project.
If the wind farm is to have a lasting positive impact, it is vital that its economic development projects meet the real needs of the adjacent Umzamowethu and Sea Vista communities and others within a 50km radius. As a responsible corporate citizen, Kouga Wind Farm also works to support the local government’s vision for the region.
After consulting with key stakeholders, four focus areas have been identified, namely:
- education and literacy
- skills development and training
Meaningful projects such as a driver's licence programme, solar-powered computer lab, antenatal clinic equipment and upgrades to local schools and crèches have already been implemented.
In addition, more than R3 million has been spent on upgrading the main access road between St Francis Bay, Oyster Bay and Humansdorp.
Built at a cost of R1.85 billion, Kouga Wind Farm is a 26% local, black-owned economic empowerment project. During the two-year construction period, more than a thousand temporary jobs were created.
Relying on external industry expertise to erect the turbines, local skilled and unskilled workers were employed for the balance of plant work. On-the-job training better equipped them for future work and many went on to secure jobs on other wind farms in the region. The project also made use of 15 locally based small to medium enterprises.
Now in its operational phase, Kouga Wind Farm provides permanent employment for a small but highly efficient team and a number of indirect jobs through service contracts.
Does your organisation qualify for funding under the SED programme?
Before filling out the application form, please check if it meets these criteria:
- Is it based within a 50km radius of the wind farm?
- Are at least 75% of the beneficiaries black South Africans?
- Are there a minimum of 100 beneficiaries?
- Is the project in alignment with KWF’s five SED focus areas?
- Is the project sustainable beyond 2035?
- Does the probability of the project succeeding exceed 50%?
- Will completion of the project result in job creation for the community?
- Is there sufficient support in place to ensure that the project is sustainable?
- Has formal approval been obtained from all relevant stakeholders?
As a renewable energy producer, Kouga Wind Farm is deeply committed to protecting the environment. We are aware of the need to balance the benefits of wind power with its potential effects on the local flora and fauna.
To this end, we avoid environmentally sensitive areas and involve independent consultants in ensuring that the impact of the wind farm is kept to a minimum.
Kouga Wind Farm has entered into a proactive agreement with the Endangered Wildlife Trust to monitor the potential impact on key bird and bat species in the area. Wind turbines are responsible for only 0.01% of all bird fatalities, far less than other causes such as pesticides, vehicles and predators.
Wind farming is also highly compatible with agriculture. Kouga Wind Farm occupies a total area of 2 948 hectares, with an actual turbine and infrastructure footprint of just 28 hectares. The turbines do not disturb the livestock, which are free to roam and graze throughout the farm. Crops may also be planted right up to the base of the turbines.
By harnessing sources of clean energy such as wind, South Africa can reduce its dependency on coal power, which is responsible for the majority of our carbon dioxide emissions.
Unlike fossil fuels, wind energy emits no harmful particles that can affect the health of the surrounding communities. The most audible noise is a light swishing sound, which is often quieter than the wind itself.
While conventional electricity generation methods tend to be water-intensive, no water is used to generate wind power, making it ideally suited to a water-scarce country such as ours.
Click here to see how Kouga Wind Farm is protecting the environment.
Simply put, a wind turbine works the opposite of an electric fan. Instead of using electricity to turn the blades and create wind, it uses wind to turn the blades and generate electricity.
The output of a wind turbine is strongly influenced by the speed of the prevailing winds in the area. The turbines are actively turning between 70 and 80% of the time.
Kouga Wind Farm comprises 32 turbines each capable of generating up to 2.5MW of power. Collectively, these turbines generate approximately 300 million kilowatt-hours (300GWh) of electrical energy per year. This is enough to supply approximately 50 000 average households with electricity annually.
German turbine manufacturer Nordex Energy was selected as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor to design and construct this international standard wind farm. Nordex engaged trusted South African contractors Power Construction and Actom to undertake the civil and electric work.
The turbines are of the Nordex 2.5MW N90 type, each consisting of an 80-metre tower and three 45-metre rotor blades. The nacelle, or casing, attached to the hub of the turbine houses the gearbox and generator.
When the wind blows, it turns the propeller-like blades around the central rotor hub. The motion creates kinetic energy, which is transformed into mechanical energy inside the nacelle by the interplay of the main shaft and gearbox. The generator converts this mechanical energy into electrical energy, which is then conducted along power cables inside the tower to the nearest substation, where it is fed into the national electricity grid.