A RENEWABLE energy firm is a step closer to clinching a R2.25-billion deal to construct another wind farm in the Kouga region, which could benefit a historically disadvantaged community.
Red Cap Investments, a wind farm developer, has made it into the Energy Department's third round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP), along with 16 other bidders.
Through the REIPPP, the department is looking to get 3725MW of energy from renewable sources, including wind, solar, biomass, biogas and landfill gas.
Red Cap has submitted a bid to develop a R2.25-billion, 111MW wind farm at Gibson Bay in Kouga.
Once commissioned, the 37-turbine project would enter commercial operation in early 2017 and generate more than 424GWh annually.
Only 17 companies out of 93 contenders have made it into the third round. The proposed Gibson Bay project is one of seven wind power bids that have been approved, along with eight solar, one gas and a single biomass project.
Red Cap managing director Mark Tanton said: "I am proud to have once again successfully participated in one of the world's leading procurement programmes for renewable energy."
Red Cap led the successful bid for the Kouga wind farm project at Oyster Bay, which is currently under construction. The 32-turbine wind farm is on track to start transmitting power to the Eskom grid during the last quarter of next year.
The Gibson Bay project will be majority owned, built and operated by Enel Green Power South Africa – a fully owned subsidiary of Enel Green Power SpA (EGP SpA) which has an installed capacity of 8689MW, operating 740 plants in 16 countries in Europe and the Americas.
Tanton said the company wanted to capitalise on its expertise and sought partnerships with other developers, with a view to bid with them in future rounds.
"Red Cap is developing a substantial proudly South African wind energy portfolio and going forward will augment its growth by engaging with parties which have not been successful in previous bids," he said.
Energy Department spokeswoman Thandiwe Maimane said although Red Cap and 16 other bidders had been selected as "preferred bidders", they still had to meet other conditions.
The department and Eskom would sign an agreement with the winning bidder towards financial close, around June next year.
The energy minister would announce the round three preferred bidders on Monday.
Kouga Municipality mayor Booi Koerat said: "The Kouga council is positioning itself as the energy hub of South Africa. The approval of Gibson Bay is a major boost for this drive.
"We are, furthermore, grateful for the visionary manner in which the Department of Energy has structured the renewable energy programme. The process places emphasis on both developers and local communities benefiting from approved projects."