Khobab wind farm celebrates all turbines in place
Khobab Wind Farm has announced the completion of all 61 wind turbine installations, more than two weeks ahead of schedule, on 8 September 2017. Furthermore, Khobab Wind Farm, together with its adjacent ‘sister’ wind farm, Loeriesfontein Wind Farm, have achieved over 2 million hours without a single lost-time-incident, during their construction period that commenced in September 2015. “This is a hugely significant health and safety construction milestone for two of the country’s largest wind farms that collectively comprise of 122 wind turbine generators and spanning a total of 6 653 hectares. Considering the sheer scale of the project, the multiple level of activities and the complexities involved, it is an impressive achievement,” said Kevin Foster, Country Construction Manager for Mainstream Renewable Power. The lifting of Khobab Wind Farm’s wind turbine generators was managed by a dedicated turbine installation crew who began the lifting process during March this year. The installation crew worked many extended days to take advantage of the periods of low wind to install all the turbines in under six months. A large number of the workforce come from the Loeriesfontein community and have directly benefited from the skills development programmes. This workforce benefited from the experience gained on the adjacent Loeriesfontein Wind Farm, which no doubt helped in the crews completing the turbine lifting ahead of schedule. The Siemens wind turbines, which are 100m tall to allow for optimum energy production, take between one and three days to construct, assuming the weather is favourable. The three 53m blades, made from fibreglass reinforced epoxy, are connected to the rotor at ground level before being lifted to the top of the turbine. This is a complicated lifting exercise, in which one crane raises the assembled rotor whilst another smaller crane and taglines guide the rotor into the correct position. The wind turbine’s tip reaches an impressive 154m into the sky when one of the blades stands vertically. The heaviest component is the nacelle, which contains the generator and gearbox; and weighs 82.5 tonnes.