WIND POWER

West Coast One has reached commercial operation.

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The 94 megawatt (MW) wind project located 130km north of Cape Town is owned by Engie, together with partners Investec and Kagiso Tiso Holdings. 

The consortium was selected as preferred bidder for this project in May 2012 and signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Eskom, the electricity parastatal, in May 2013. Construction of the wind farm, which consists of 47 turbines of 2MW turbines, started in mid-2013. 

Gérard Mestrallet, the chairman and chief executive of Engie, said: "South Africa is an important market for Engie and we are a committed long-term investor in the African continent. 

"The West Coast One wind farm supports South Africa's objective of increasing renewable generation and promoting local economic development. This project demonstrates Engie's ability to deliver important renewable projects and underlines our commitment to developing sustainable sources of energy." 

Investment in the wind farm was €160-million (R2.2-billion), funded by a mix of equity and debt, which has been provided by local banks. West Coast One will offset an estimated 5.6 million tons of carbon dioxide over the 20-year duration of its PPA. 

This project follows the start of operation of the 300MW Tarfaya wind farm in Morocco in 2014, Africa's largest wind power project. It is owned by Engie in partnership with Nareva Holding. 

South Africa is implementing a 20-year plan that makes provision for 42% – 17gigawatts (GW) – of new generation to come from renewable energy, with 8GW allocated to onshore wind. The successful Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) is in place, with a number of projects already closed. 

In addition to West Coast One, Engie is actively developing further projects in South Africa. In 2013, the group signed PPAs for two greenfield open-cycle gas turbine power plants of 335MW (Dedisa) and 670MW (Avon), which are located in Eastern Cape and in KwaZulu-Natal, respectively. This year, an Engie-led consortium with South African partners, was nominated as preferred bidder for the 100MW Kathu Solar Park in Northern Cape. 

Engie currently has 19GW of renewable generation capacity in operation worldwide, of which more than 4GW is wind. It holds a 43% equity interest in West Coast One, while Investec owns 34.5% and Kagiso Tiso Holdings has a 20% interest. The remaining 2.5% will be allocated to a community trust, with the purpose of developing and sustaining the surrounding community. 

Engie, which is based in Paris, develops its businesses (power, natural gas, energy services) around a model based on responsible growth to take on the major challenges of energy's transition to a low-carbon economy. It has expertise in four key sectors: renewable energy, energy efficiency, liquefied natural gas and digital technology.

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