BERLIN has been chosen to host a R1.3-billion 130 megawatt (MW) solar farm project.
Three portions of Berlin commonage, donated to the East London Industrial Development Zone (Elidz) by Buffalo City Metro late last year are expected to host three solar power ventures – the 75MW Langa project; the 50MW Thezi-Langa project; and the 5MW Tutuka project.
The three projects would be able to power almost 28000 middle- income suburban homes.
Elidz spokeswoman Ayanda Ramncwana yesterday said BCM had acted in support of their drive to attract investors to their renewable energy strategy.
Ramncwana said: “The Elidz has already secured an investment [for the Berlin project’s 75mw Langa photovoltaic project] and we are currently negotiating various development options with the investor to ensure that we maximise local benefits in this project.”
A confidentiality agreement signed with the investor prevented the Elidz from releasing more details, she said.
But she said the rental on the land would “meet the (Elidz’s) required return”.
Meanwhile, due diligence tests had been conducted by both the Elidz and development finance institutions prior to the projects being registered for investments.
She said the Department of Energy had instructed that there should be local participation in the projects from within a 50km radius of the site.
Asked if the land would be bulldozed flat, she said: “There may be minimal landscaping, but the majority of the land will remain the same.
“The developers will utilise the natural north-facing slope for the projects as this saves them costs in terms of infrastructure.”
The principal environmental consultant, Dr Greer Hawley, and environmental science masters graduate Caroline Evans, of Coastal Environmental Services, said the three-year project would be able to supply either the BCM-owned Kemba sub-station or Eskom’s Pembook station.
They said the 75MW Langa Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Facility had already received national environmental authorisation for development, the 50MW Thezi- Langa facility authorisation application was completed and awaiting a government decision and an environmental impact assessment of the 5MW Tutuka proposal was advertised in the Dispatch last week.
The spokesman for the provincial department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism, Sixolile Makaula, said numerous renewable energy projects were taking off in the province and that the issue of independent producers selling power to Eskom and municipalities had been “finalised”. — firstname.lastname@example.org
Article source: http://www.dispatch.co.za/news/solar-power-comes-to-berlin/