JUWI Starts Construction Of 84 MW Wolf Wind Project In The Eastern Cape, South Africa

JUWI reports high demand for large renewables, driven by the energy crisis and the country’s climate commitments. JUWI now has over 4 GW of wind, solar, and hybrid projects in various stages of development for large private and public energy users.

JUWI Renewable Energies, a leading global solar, wind, and hybrid project developer, EPC, and operations and maintenance (O&M) company, today announced that the 84 Megawatt (MW) Wolf Wind Project in the Eastern Cape has reached financial close. Exploding public and private demand for large-scale renewables due to South Africa’s energy crisis has led to rapid expansion of JUWI’s footprint across the country, with over 1.5 GW of wind, 2 GW of solar, and 500 MW of hybrid projects incorporating storage in development for private and public energy users. 

The Wolf Wind Project, located two hours from the city of Gqeberha, was successfully bid by Red Rocket in Round 5 of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REI4P). Gqeberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth, is also known as the friendly city as well as “the windy city,” This part of South Africa also hosts VW’s vehicle manufacturing plant in Kariega.

Image of Garob wind farm courtesy of JUWI

Construction has started and the facility is projected to begin generating electricity for the South African grid by Q1 2024. It is the second wind project developed by JUWI to reach financial close under the REI4P, the first being the 138 MW Garob Wind Project that was successful in the previous REI4P bid round and which reached commercial operation in 2021.

“JUWI is committed to developing projects that help South Africa address the energy crisis and achieve the clean energy transition, and therefore the progress in rolling out REI4P projects is very encouraging,” said Richard Doyle, Managing Director, JUWI South Africa. “Concurrently, it is heartening to see the exponential growth in demand from the public and private sectors for large scale renewable projects, and for hybrid projects that integrate battery storage. To support this demand, we plan to initiate the development of a further combined 1 GW of wind, solar and hybrid projects in 2023.”

“As a South African company and an independent power producer, we’ve been investing in solutions to address the energy crisis for over ten years. We’re proud to have partnered with JUWI on this project and pleased to have started construction on this and other large wind projects,” said Matteo Brambilla, CEO, Red Rocket. “The Wolf Wind Project will be generating more than 360 GWh of clean electricity for the South African grid per year, offsetting 374,400 tonnes of CO2 each year and the project will bring over 200-million-rand community investment over 20 years through local social projects.”

Image of Garob wind farm courtesy of JUWI

“A key barrier to bringing large projects like Wolf online is grid capacity,” said Chris Bellingham, Head of Project Development, JUWI South Africa. “Whilst we’re working on ways to overcome the challenges imposed on many of our projects by the Cape grid constraints, to meet the significant and growing demand for clean reliable power, we’re also actively developing a large portfolio of new and regionally diverse projects in unconstrained areas of the country’s grid.”

Demand for large solar, wind, and battery storage projects is growing nicely in South Africa. Recently the energy regulator published an update on the list of projects from private developers in the C&I sector where the number of projects registered by the regulator in South Africa in just the first 2 months of this year were already over 1000 MW. This is a big jump when you compare with the last couple of years, where 53 MW of projects were registered throughout 2020, about 135 MW of projects were registered in 2021, and generation projects totaling 1,646 MW were registered last year.

In terms of battery storage, along with load-shedding, increasing fuel prices and carbon emissions are negative factors and as companies start setting ESG targets, programs to reduce emissions and operations costs are now taking center stage. Batteries are increasingly being considered for energy security now and the costs are compared to the cost of unserved energy rather than the cost of diesel or the grid. Scheduled outages or load-shedding takes place for 2-4 hours and in many cases more than once a day, and therefore longer battery deployment is also being considered by more firms in South Africa. The national government’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP) asked for 8 hours of BESS and resulted in a lot of modelling and pricing for PV and wind + 8 hours of BESS and created awareness around the economics of longer battery life.

Images of Garob wind farm courtesy of JUWI

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