ASSEMBLY of the first wind turbine at the Metrowind Van Stadens wind farm in Nelson Mandela Bay was completed this week, with a further eight being assembled over the next two months.
On completion, the 27 megawatt (MW) wind farm will comprise nine Sinovel 3MW turbines and is expected to produce 80000MWh per year. Installation will be completed by October, followed by commissioning.
The first 3MW turbine, called S01, was completed on Friday after two weeks of high-intensity assembly work.
Evan Jones, engineering manager for energy at Basil Read Matomo – the lead engineering, procurement and construction contractor – said there were many "exciting first-ever experiences" for the project team.
"For us the use of the largest crane ever used in South Africa has simply been incredible. The Terex TC 2800 has a lifting capacity of 800 tons," Jones said.
He said the crane was imported from Poland earlier this year to facilitate the lifting of the various components of the turbine. It took 56 trucks to transport the crane to site, where a normal 650-ton crane requires only 20 trucks.
Jones said South Africa was in a unique position to leap-frog technologically with the national wind farm projects and construct 3MW wind turbines, rather than the older 1.5MW turbines.
"Not only are we able to use the most advanced wind turbine technology, but we are also engaging the experts worldwide, with consultants from Spain, Italy and China working with us here ..."
Basil Read Matomo was awarded the R475-million contract late last year for the Metrowind Van Stadens wind farm – one of the first eight authorised by the Department of Energy.