The mainly South African lifting crew often had to be innovative to complete the turbine installations in under seven months
Site workers at Perdekraal East Wind Farm had cause to celebrate recently after completing the installation of all its 48 turbines in under seven months.
The milestone lift, three days before COVID-19 restrictions came into force in South Africa, was achieved two weeks ahead of schedule.
Mainstream’s Construction Project Manager, Glenn Hobson, paid tribute to his largely South African team, who had intensified operations at the Western Cape site whenever low winds allowed.
He said: “We expected to only complete this major milestone on April 6, so considering the current pandemic, the early completion is an unexpected blessing as we hadn’t anticipated the full impact of the COVID-19 virus.
“I am continually impressed by the results that the Wind Turbine Generation lifting teams produce, often under difficult circumstances and within tight deadlines, requiring innovative approaches to the completion of tasks.
“The pride that the local teams take in their work is truly inspiring and I cannot complement their work ethic highly enough. It has truly been a pleasure working with this team.”
Hobson added: “Whilst operational wind farms are classified as essential services, being part of the country’s electricity production, supply and maintenance category, the ongoing construction of Perdekraal East Wind Farm has, of necessity, temporarily ceased operations.”
The achievement came just a week after the last of 61 turbines was lifted ahead of schedule at Kangnas Wind Farm, the sister Bid Window 4 project that Mainstream is constructing in the Northern Cape for its Africa Joint venture Lekela Power.
Perdekraal East’s wind turbines stand 115 metres tall to allow for optimum energy production, and when one of the blades stand vertically, the tip height is an impressive 168m high.
The three 53.2m blades, made from fibreglass reinforced epoxy, are connected to the rotor at ground level before being lifted to the top of the turbine tower. The heaviest component is the nacelle, which contains the generator and gearbox; and weighs 86 tonnes.
110MW Perdekraal Wind Farm will have the capacity to generate 368 800 GWh/year of clean, renewable power into South Africa’s national power grid, equivalent to the annual energy needs of 111,118 homes.
Perdekraal East Wind Farm
Perdekraal East became the first wind farm in Bid Window 4,of the f Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) to reach commercial operation. The wind farm was built within 27 months even with the disruption of the Covid-19 lockdown.
A notable achievement was the development of a domestic supply chain with more than 48% of the wind farm’s content being manufactured in South Africa, including its 48 turbine towers, a 500 MVA mega transformer and other components previously only available as imports.
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