Wind Wire: Ruthless cutback

Funding constraints have forced South African utility Eskom to make "a ruthless prioritisation of projects," including postponing the 100 MW Koekenaap wind power plant in Western Cape Province (Windpower Monthly, May 2008).

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Eskom says it faces a deficit in 2010 of more than ZAR 48 billion (EUR4.3 billion) in its five-year investment plan because of the higher cost of debt and a widening gap between generation costs and the electricity wholesale price. The utility is seeking government approval to raise the legislated power purchase price by 34%, but must cut spending now. Shelving the wind plant represents a saving of ZAR 3 billion (EUR0.27 billion). Reacting to the news, Irish wind project developer Mainstream, which is active in South Africa, considers Eskom's decision to delay the Koekenaap project may offer an opportunity for independent power producers. On the other hand, Eskom's action "signals a broader problem in Eskom and hampers its commitment to implement renewable energy," says Mainstream's David Chown. Eskom may not be able to honour the recently announced guaranteed purchase price for renewable energy (Windpower Monthly, May 2009).

Proposals to design, build and operate Togo's first grid-connected wind power plant are due to be submitted to the government of the West African country by July 20 in response to its call for tenders. The plan is for up to 25 MW to be installed in two phases near the capital and port city of Lome. The plant will be a public-private partnership, with an independent power producer holding the concession to operate it and sell the output to the national electricity board. Project groundwork has been carried out by the French developer and operator of wind and solar plant, Eco Delta Developpement (EDD), via its local subsidiary Delta Wind Togo, in which EDD holds an 85% stake. The remaining 15% belongs to Togolese industrialists. If all goes to plan, the plant could be up and running by the end of 2011, according to EDD's Ronald Knoche.

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