Large parts of South Africa’s coastal land, as well as various areas inland, have an economically viable source of wind energy. Furthermore, the scale and maturity of the global wind industry have made it a cost-competitive energy option, compared not just to other renewable technologies but also many fuel-based technologies.
Also with significant local content, these technologies can also raise the employment intensity of the electricity generation sector.
The project comprises of 60 wind turbines.
The height and weight statistics of the wind turbines are:
Wind turbines are sophisticated machines with computer controls.
A typical operating sequence is as follows:
By its very nature, wind varies and does not blow consistently all the time. This is why, where the wind turbines are sited is so important; erecting them in an area with prevailing winds ensures that the turbines can generate energy and provide energy to the grid about 90% of the time.
The wind turbine only cuts in (starts operating) when wind speed reaches approximately 13km/h.
Modern wind turbines are not considered noisy; the mechanical (gearbox/ generator) noise and vibration is almost undetectable with the main sound being the aerodynamic swish of the blades passing the turbine tower.
Animals and livestock ignore wind turbines, and continue to graze as they did before wind turbines were installed.
In answer to the concern that wind turbines kill birds, studies show that birds are seldom bothered by wind turbines and in fact, the number of birds killed by wind turbines is negligible compared to the number that die as a result of other human activities.
Studies from the western part of Denmark, show that birds – by day and night – tend to change their flight route some 100 – 200 metres before the turbine and pass above the turbine at a safe distance.
Bird studies form an integral part of the Environment Impact study and any adverse affects will be highlighted during this stage of the development.
See Denmark Bird Study here.
When designing the site layout, our team ensured that turbines are located with ample clearance from the border of the property, main roads and power lines so that, in the highly unlikely event that a tower collapses, it will not traverse the border of the property.
Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm doesn’t fall within the ‘radar buffer distance’ and therefore can’t affect any airport or military radars.
The Environmental Impact Assessment included a comprehensive stakeholder consultation process as a prerequisite.
This process included: community involvement, information evenings, and open communication with all local stakeholders and this played a vital role in achieving neighbour/ community acceptance of a project.
Any objections/ queries from neighbours were made and assessed by the planning and environmental authorities via their standard process.
Our team engaged early on in the project with all local residents and local communities to ensure they are informed and consulted throughout the development, construction and operation stages.
Research has shown that just as many people like the appearance of wind turbines as dislike them.
Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm has a 20 year lease agreement with Eskom, should the project then need to be decommissioned, it will be done in accordance with the environmental authority’s stipulations.
Typically they will require all visible traces of the wind farm to be removed. This takes care of the turbines. Access roads can be removed, although it may be best to leave them for public or private usage. The concrete bases can also be removed, but it is often better to leave them under the ground, as this causes fewer disturbances. If the turbine bases are left they would be covered with stone or other indigenous material, and the site returned as closely as practicable to its original state. Wind energy technology is essentially reversible, and compared to the problems associated with decommissioning a nuclear power station, or a coal or gas fired plant, decommissioning a wind farm is straight forward and simple.
Wind energy is one of the safest energy technologies during the normal operation of the wind turbine.
Measures the wind speed and transmits wind speed data to the controller.
The aerodynamic surface that catches the wind. Most commercial turbines have three blades.
A device to slow a wind turbine’s shaft speed down to safe levels electrically or mechanically.
The average power output of a wind development divided by its maximum power capability, its rated capacity. Capacity factor depends on the quality of the wind at the turbine. Higher capacity factors imply more energy generation. On land, capacity factors range from 0.25 (reasonable) to over 0.40 (excellent). Offshore, capacity factors can exceed 0.50.
A naturally occurring gas, and also a by-product of burning fossil fuels and biomass as well as land use changes and other industrial processes. CO2 is the principal greenhouse gas that is produced by human activity and influences climate change.
Changes in a climate system over decades or longer. The term often refers to changes in climate that can be attributed directly or indirectly to human activities that altered the composition of the global atmosphere – changes that are beyond the natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.
The controller starts up the turbine generator at wind speed of about 8 to 16 mph and shuts off the generator at about 65 mph.
The wind speed at which the turbine automatically stops the blades from turning and rotates out of the wind to avoid damage to the turbine, usually around 55 to 65 mph.
The discharges of pollutants into the atmosphere from stationary sources such as smokestacks, other vents, or the surfaces of commercial or industrial facilities, and mobile sources such as motor vehicles, locomotives and aircraft. With respect to climate change, emissions refer to the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over a specified area and period of time.
The time period it takes for a wind turbine to generate as much energy as is required to produce the turbine, install it, maintain it throughout its lifetime and, finally, scrap it.
Connect the low-speed shaft to the high-speed shaft and increase the rotational speed of the shaft to the speed required by the generator. The gearbox is heavy and power losses from friction are inherent in any gearing system.
A device that produces electricity from mechanical energy, such as from a rotating turbine shaft.
The nacelle sits atop the tower and contains the gearbox, shafts, and generator of a wind turbine. Some nacelles are large enough for a helicopter to land on.
The angle between the edge of the blade and the plane of the blade’s rotation. Blades are turned, or pitched, out of the wind to control the rotor speed.
The wind speed at which the turbine is producing power at its rated capacity. The rated wind speed generally corresponds to the point at which the turbine can perform most efficiently. Because of the variability of the wind, the amount of energy a wind turbine actually produces is lower than its rated capacity over a period of time.
The rotating part in the center of a wind turbine or motor that transfers power. A high-speed shaft drives the generator. A rotor at about 30 to 60 rpm turns a low-speed shaft.
The centre of a turbine rotor, which holds the blades in place and attaches to the shaft. The rotor refers to both the turbine blades and the hub.
The base structure that supports and elevates a wind turbine rotor and nacelle.
To rotate around a vertical axis, such a turbine tower. The yaw drive is used to keep a turbine rotor facing into the wind as the wind direction changes.
Measures wind direction and communicates with the yaw drive to orient the turbine properly with respect to the wind.
A machine that captures the force of the wind. Also called a wind generator when used to produce electricity. Most commercial wind generators are horizontal axis wind turbines. If wind energy is used directly by machinery, such as for pumping water, cutting lumber or grinding stones, the machine is called a windmill.
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