Irish energy company opens fourth South African wind farm

14 Sep 2016

Continuing its global growth, Mainstream Renewable Power has opened its fourth wind farm in South Africa: an 80MW facility in the Umsobumvo region of the country.

Investing €120m to satisfy the needs of an estimated 70,000 households, Mainstream’s latest international project in South Africa sees the Irish company’s global footprint grow ever stronger.

Following what the company claims is a decline in industrial activity in the area, Noupoort Wind Farm is implementing various economic development projects, such as facilities for entrepreneurs to set up shop, as well as computer labs and local Wi-Fi capability.

wind farm mainstream renewable power

The wind farm project is part of Lekela Power, a joint venture between Actis and Mainstream which, armed with 1,300MW worth of wind and solar projects, sees South Africa represent around one-quarter of that total.

Lauding the opening, Mainstream’s group financing director Terry Ryan said this fourth facility will soon be added to, with the company currently building two wind farms near Loeriesfontein in the Northern Cape “which are on track to start operating in December next year”.

“One of the most significant things about this 80MW wind powered generation facility is that it took just 17 months to build it, from start to finish,” he said. “This is testament to the great team that came together to make it happen.”

Mainstrean’s Aniqah Misbach with Denis Solomon, plant manager of the new facility - wind farm

Mainstrean’s Aniqah Misbach with Denis Solomon, plant manager of the new facility

It’s getting Chile

Last month, the company was awarded a major energy contract in Chile to build seven wind energy plants as part of a $1.65bn project.

Mainstream saw off 83 other bidders to land the deal, which will see it continue to operate the plants once constructed, with energy production expected in 2021.

The plants will be located throughout Chile and should feed clean energy into the general energy grid, with each operating under a 20-year contract.

Eddie O’Connor, the company’s chief executive, said the deal puts Mainstream at the top of the pile when it comes to independent renewable energy production.

“We had the industry foresight to take early positions in Chile and South Africa and we are rolling out similar plans across Africa, Central America and Asia.”

Main renewable energy image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic