Wind Turbines in Jeffrey’s Bay

(Article by Liz K)

The wind turbines in Jeffrey’s Bay is already created a demand for rental homes, find out more about this exciting project here

An exciting endeavour is underfoot in Jeffrey’s Bay: the construction of one of South Africa’s first wind farms is an effort to produce clean and renewable electricity whilst keeping public spending down. The ever-increasing cost of electricity gives rise to the need for alternative methods and sources of power, and thanks to modern technology, wind power is now a reality which is expected to power over 11 400 homes per year.

How Long has this Been in the Pipeline?

The site for Jeffrey’s Bay Wind Farm (near Humansdorp) stretches across 3 700 hectares and was carefully selected for its prime wind conditions and minimal environmental constraints. 

The transporting of the giant turbines from the Port of Ngqura has already been underway since July, and they have remained on schedule to be finished by January 2014. The site is expected to go live and start supplying power by mid-2014.

About the Construction

The turbines stand tall at 80 metres, and with the addition of the 49-metre blades, the total height of the structure to the tip of the blade will be an imposing 132 metres.

The construction and assembling of the turbines—which are being transported in separate sections—requires the use of two specialist cranes. With the cranes operating simultaneously, it takes about three days to erect one turbine – and there are 60 of them!

Siemens is in charge of supplying, installing and erecting the turbines, and they will also be responsible for maintenance for the next 10 years to come.

Of course, nothing comes without criticism, although this project has not been marred by much. Critics of wind energy have pointed out the massive blade length of up to 150 metres may be detrimental to birds, although a representative for a study conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has responded to these fears: “As far as collision mortality for birds is concerned, it is predicted that the project will have a negative impact of low significance (with mitigation). This will have to be verified by post-construction monitoring”.

The Transportation Process

Trucks and trailers are transporting the turbines from the Port of Ngqura, along the N2, to the final destination. Some components, however, will have to travel through Motherwell along the R334, past Despatch and Uitenhage in order to join the N2 at the Blue Horizon Bay Exit. From there they will continue along the N2 to Jeffrey’s Bay.

Some of these transport vehicles may be up to 50 metres long, so it has been asked of everyone in the area to please travel safely when encountering any of these trailers. The majority of the journey is done on dual-carriageways so as not to disrupt regular traffic, and the N2 has also been modified to make provision for the large turning radius.

Transportation will only take place on Mondays through Fridays; not at night, over the weekend or on public holidays. In the event that any exceptions need to be made, the public will be given prior notice.

If you commute in the area and want a more detailed description of the route, it has been made available here. For a weekly schedule, simply register on the official Jeffrey’s Bay Wind Farm website.

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