Mainstream starts work on South African wind and solar projects

SOUTH AFRICA: Mainstream Renewable Power has begun work on a 138MW wind farm after signing key documentation for the scheme and two solar projects.

The 138MW Jeffreys Bay wind farm located in the Eastern Cape will comprise Siemens 2.3MW turbines and is due to be fully operational by mid-2014, as are the two developer's two solar PV projects to be built in the Northern Cape, which have a combined generating capacity of 100MW. Jeffreys Bay's Siemens turbines will have a 101m rotor at 80m hub height.

Mainstream today said it would now issue Notice to Proceed to its construction contractors this week on all three projects after signing key Financing, Power-Purchase and Implementation Agreements with the South African Government.

The firm has developed these projects over the last four years and was awarded licences to build them in December 2011 under the South African Government's first Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP). Mainstream will also manage the full construction programme under the supervision of a joint steering committee with Globeleq, Mainstream's strategic equity partner in the consortium developing the project.

Mainstream is the lead member in the consortium, which also includes Thebe Investment Corporation (advised by Bridge Capital), local engineering firms Enzani Technologies and Usizo Engineering as well as local community trusts. Old Mutual's IDEAS Managed Fund is an additional consortium member of the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.