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South Africa: Minister switches on the Darling Wind Farm

In a first for South Africa, the Minister of Minerals and Energy, today officially switched on the Darling Wind Farm.
The R75 million national demonstration project is the first "green energy" initiative in the country to produce electricity from wind power on a commercial basis – this coming against the backdrop of the national energy emergency.

The Darling Wind Farm has four wind turbines which can supply 5.2 megawatts of electricity. All the electricity produced will be sold to the City of Cape Town as part of a long-term power purchase agreement.

The landmark project has been developed by a group consisting of the private developer Darling Independent Power Producer (Darlipp), CEF (Pty) Ltd which manages renewable energy interests on behalf of the Government and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).

A portion of the funding was provided as a grant by the Danish International Development Assistance (Danida) programme of the Danish government.

The project also qualifies for a United Nations Global Environment Fund guarantee scheme, managed by the South African Wind Energy Programme (Sawep) of the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME).

Learnings from the project are intended to be used as a foundation for the acceleration of the development of other green electricity projects.

South Africa with its ample coastline has a potential for major electricity generation from wind, says Mr Hermann Oelsner, CEO of Darling Wind Power.

"The country has the potential to generate electricity from wind in excess of its current total national power consumption and without the harmful effects of fossil fuel and nuclear-powered generation plants," says Mr Oelsner.

Dr Manny Singh, Chairman of Darling Wind Power, said that support schemes for renewable energy being developed by the DME and the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) could enable renewable energy to play a significant role in South African power supply, while also reducing harmful emissions that contribute to global warming.

DBSA Executive Manager for SA Operations, Mr Luther Mashaba, confirmed the organisation's commitment to affording emerging BEE entities the opportunity to participate in this major investment.

He also emphasized the DBSA's role of acting as a catalyst and supporter of the empowerment of broad-based BEE entities in ownership structure of the project.

Additional information:
News date: 23/05/2008

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