14 Sep 18 Communities South Africa

Local project officer takes the reins

Ceres resident Gaylene Koopman, has taken on the key role of local Project Officer, for what will become the Western Cape’s newest wind farm. Women play an important part in the renewable energy industry, from construction management, engineering, health and safety management to administrative jobs.

Perdekraal East Wind Farm, situated within the Witzenberg Local Municipality, established its community offices in the picturesque town of Ceres last month and has already become a hub for community members, prospective employees and local enterprises.  And, this is where Gaylene’s charm and experience of liaising with communities comes in handy.

The role of a wind farm project officer is a critical link between the wind farm’s construction team and the community in which the wind farm is being built.  Gaylene, who studied Public Management at CPUT, manages job enquiries, proposals from local enterprises who are looking for ways to work alongside the construction partners and of course, is a source of information about wind energy.

Gaylene explains how eager and excited the community members are about the prospects that the wind farm offers the people of Witzenberg.  “I know how it feels to be an unemployed youth, but now I am one of the lucky ones who is employed by the project, and that means so much to me,” said Gaylene Koopman.

Born and raised in a small suburb close to Ceres, Gaylene believes that her intimate local knowledge of the area will benefit the community members, which she now works to help.

“Not only will I be able to work on the project, but I will also get a chance to put back what I have learned into my community and that is amazing for me,” added Gaylene.

Residents from Ceres, Nduli (and surrounding townships), Bella Vista, and Prince Alfred Hamlet are encouraged to visit Perdekraal East Wind Farm’s Project Office, situated at 57 Voortrekker Street, Ceres, in order to be considered for employment on the wind farm.

Once complete, the 110MW Perdekraal Wind Farm, which spans 3 055 hectares, will comprise forty-eight, 115m-high wind turbines. When operating at full capacity, it will generate around 183 000 MWh/year of clean renewable energy per year and is expected to supply electricity to power up to 95 000 South African homes.

Perdekraal East Wind Farm will eliminate approximately 410 000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year compared to traditional fossil fuel power plants. In addition to zero carbon emissions and reduced use of fossil fuels, the country will benefit from minimal water consumption during the generation process and significant social and enterprise development programmes.