by Julian Kraft

Wind energy

ACTOM Power Systems wins balance of plant contract at Kouga Wind Farm

A typical wind farm

The R150-million contract, awarded in April this year by Nordex Energy SA, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project, encompasses the design and turnkey provision of the electrical installation from the base of the wind turbine generators (WTG’s) up to the Eskom point of connection for the power generated by the Kouga Wind Farm’s 32 x 2,5 MW WTG’s.

It comprises mounting 0,66/33 kV compact substations at the base of each WTG, installing a total of 111 km of single-phase MV cable for the collector network and building a 33/132 kV step-up substation at the point of connection with Eskom’s distribution network.

The Kouga Wind Farm is one of eight wind energy facilities approved under the first round “Window 1” of government’s Independent Power Producers Renewable Energy Programme launched in November last year and comprising a total of 28 wind and solar projects earmarked to increment the highly stressed national grid with 1400 MW of power generation capacity.

All the substation equipment required for the contract, which is scheduled for completion in November 2014, is being manufactured and/or supplied from within the ACTOM group. These are ACTOM Power Transformers for the two 60 MVA power transformers, ACTOM High Voltage Equipment for the 33 kV indoor gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) and 132 kV substation equipment, ACTOM Protection & Control for the substation automation and control system, ACTOM Distribution Transformers for the WTG transformers, ACTOM MV Switchgear for the compact substations and Static Power for the battery tripping units.

CBI Electric is subcontracted to supply the MV cable for the collector network. 

“In line with the spirit of what government’s renewable programme is aiming to achieve in terms of stimulating the local economy and redressing socio-economic imbalances, ACTOM’s solution maximised the local content contribution in terms of both manufactured product and workforce, which is a key factor in aligning the balance of plant component in the renewable projects market,” commented John McClure, ACTOM Power Systems’ General Manager. 

“An overall local content minimum target of 45% applies in the case of the Window 1 projects and this requirement is set to increase progressively as new Windows are introduced annually. ACTOM, with its longstanding commitment to local manufacture, is particularly well-placed to satisfy the high local content requirements of these projects and will continue to keep its manufacturing capabilities abreast as they unfold.

Other key factors that counted in ACTOM Power Systems’ favour in being selected for the balance of plant contract for the Kouga Wind Farm were its broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) credentials and its ability to contribute towards the project’s Economic Development Obligations which relate to the likes of focussed job creation, small business development and advancing the interest of women-owned businesses.

“However, the commercial and technical approach to wind energy projects is new to our fledgling renewable industry, so we devoted a lot of effort beforehand familiarising ourselves and aligning our offering with market expectations,” McClure explained.

“We were given invaluable advice and assistance in this regard by Nordex Energy SA, with their extensive experience of such projects worldwide. We in turn were able to reciprocate with some information pertaining to South African peculiarities and norms.”

Nordex Energy SA is the local subsidiary of Nordex Energy GmbH of Germany, a leading global wind farm EPC contractor and supplier of wind turbine generators.

In line with the social responsibility requirements placed on all the independent power producers (IPP’s) and contractors involved in South Africa’s renewable energy programme, the Kouga Wind Farm is committed to establishing a trust to fund long-term education, health and other upliftment initiatives involving local communities, which are supported by Nordex Energy SA and ACTOM Power Systems.




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