Wind energy contracts fill Vanguard’s sails

Wind energy contracts fill Vanguard’s sails

With the roll-out of wind energy projects as part of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), international heavy-lift and plant relocation specialist engineering firm, Vanguard has been active on wind farm sites in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape.

This includes the port discharge, specialised transportation, engineered lifting and assembly solutions of 160 turbines at several wind energy projects around South Africa.

The large scale of the turbine components requires specialised expertise and equipment to transport and install. The towers for the turbines on average measure over four metres in diameter at their base and 80-90 metres tall – depending on the model and generating capacity – requiring them to be transported in three segments of about 30 metres each.

The nacelle with the generator, gearbox, drive train and brake assembly typically weighs in excess of 100 tonnes, while the hub is some 40 tonnes and the turbine blades – three per turbine – are about 55 metres in length. After the tower segments are assembled on site, the nacelle components, the hub and the blades are then lifted to the top of the tower and installed by expert technical teams.

Nojoli Wind Farm, Eastern Cape

Vanguard has been awarded a contract to assist with the Nojoli Wind Farm near Cookhouse in the Eastern Cape. The new wind farm will comprise 44 Vestas V100 2 MW wind turbine generators, giving the facility a total installed capacity of 88 MW. The company’s contract commenced with discharging the vessel in December 2015 at the Port of Ngqura near Port Elizabeth, and storage at the port. The Vanguard team discharged a second vessel on 02 January 2016, with further vessels to be discharged throughout the project. The scope of the contract includes the specialised transportation of all components to site and the erection of the 44 wind turbine generators.

Once operational, Nojoli Wind Farm could generate more than 275 GWh per year, equivalent to the annual consumption needs of around 86,000 South African households. This will therefore avoid the emission of more than 251,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.

The wind farm is being constructed by Enel Green Power, which has about 740 plants operating in 15 countries in Europe, the Americas and Africa; EGP’s total installed capacity is 9,600 MW from a range of sources including wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and biomass.

Waainek Wind Farm, Eastern Cape

Vanguard were awarded a contract for discharging the vessel, storage at the Port of Ngqura and transporting all components for eight Vestas V112-3.0 MW wind turbines for Waainek wind farm project near Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, starting in May 2015.

Developed by Innowind in collaboration with the Industrial Development Corporation and Makana Winds of Change BBBEE Company, Waainek will have an installed capacity of 24,6 MW – sufficient to supply about 16,000 households. Its electricity output will be sold to Eskom through a 20-year power purchase agreement. Generation is expected to begin by the end of 2015.

Chaba Wind Farm, Komga, Eastern Cape

Vanguard has participated in the Chaba wind farm project near Komga in the Eastern Cape, about 70 km north of East London. The company discharged seven Vestas V112-3.0 MW wind turbine generators from the ship, off-loaded into a storage area, and reloaded for transport to the project site from March 2015.

The Chaba project, owned by InnoWind, the Industrial Development Corporation and Chaba Winds of Change, will generate 21 MW of renewable energy – sufficient to supply about 14,000 South African homes. The first turbines should start producing electricity in mid-2015, and the facility plans for full operational status in September 2015.

West Coast One, Vredenburg

At the West Coast One wind farm, also near Vredenburg, Vanguard erected 20 Vestas V90 2.0 MW wind turbine generators with its GTK1100 crane. The €160 million (over R2 billion) wind farm will generate over 90 MW, for sale to Eskom in terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement starting in November 2014.

The project - which is being developed by Aurora Wind Power, a joint venture between GDF Suez, Investec and Kagiso Tiso Holdings - is expected to reach commercial operation in mid-2015.

Grassridge, Port Elizabeth

At the R1,2 billion Grassridge wind farm, also near Port Elizabeth, Vanguard provided the craning solution for 20 Vestas V112 turbines from August 2014, each with a 3 MW generating capacity, using its specialised GTK1100 crane – currently the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

Once the base of the turbine tower is secured on its foundation, Vanguard’s GTK1100 crane and support crane are positioned to ‘top and tail’ the two top tower sections of each turbine. The remaining components of the turbine are then lifted and positioned, which includes the nacelle, hub and three 55 meter turbine blades.

Construction on the site – located at cement producer PPC’s Grassridge quarry 12km north of Motherwell – began in October last year, and the first turbines are expected to be operational by early in 2015.

Developing the project is InnoWind, a local company owned by EDF Energies Nouvelles; project ownership is shared with the Industrial Development Corporation and the Grassridge Winds of Change Community Trust, a local development trust for the Motherwell community.

Noblesfontein, Victoria West

Vanguard has also been part of the construction of the R1.5-billion Noblesfontein wind farm near Victoria West in the Karoo, Northern Cape, erecting 11 Vestas V100 turbines with mobilisation from April 2014

Working to tight deadlines as the windy season approached, the company mobilised its GTK1100 crane from the Johannesburg branch, including a main carrier for the tower boom, a trailer for the crane superstructure, four trucks with outriggers, and three trucks with spreaders and counterweights. Fast-tracking the permits and navigating difficult roads and hilly terrain near the site, the crane delivery and set-up were completed so that work could begin on 23 April. Noblesfontein has a total of 41 turbines and has a generating capacity of almost 74 MW of electricity.

Sere, Vredendal

For Eskom’s Sere wind farm near Vredendal on the Western Cape coast, Vanguard were subcontracted to discharge 41 Siemens turbines from the cargo ship at the port of Saldanha, off-load to a storage area, and provide transport to site. This involved about 500 abnormal loads along the 250 kilometre route to site, starting in October 2013.

The project, including all the necessary authorisations, permits and police escorts, was managed and coordinated by Vanguard’s experienced team, including a 500 tonne crane used in the port and a 120 tonne crane on site. The Sere wind farm is expected to begin full commercial operation by the end of 2014, with average annual energy production of about 233,000 MW hours – enough to power about 97,000 standard homes.

Metrowind’s Van Staden’s wind farm, Port Elizabeth

In this turnkey project, Vanguard transported and erected nine 3 MW Sinovel wind turbines for Metrowinds’ R550 million Van Stadens wind farm, 30 km west of the windy city of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape from June 2013. For this, Vanguard were responsible for the discharge, storage and transport of nine nacelles, 27 blades and nine towers from the Port of Ngqura to the site 57 km away, as well as the mechanical and electrical installation of the turbines at the site.

Transportation of the 56,5-meter blades and the 120-tonne nacelles was achieved through Vanguard’s custom fleet of heavy-capacity, multi-axle trailers. The company also employed two sets of specially imported tower clamp attachments to lower the overall height of the load; this allowed it to transport the 4,7-metre-diameter tower sections along routes which would not have been possible with standard trailers.

With its decades of expertise, Vanguard lifted the 120-tonne nacelles to a height of 90 metres and positioned them to be secured to their respective towers. Despite challenging weather conditions, the goal of erecting one complete turbine per week was achieved.

Uniquely positioned

These contracts have shown that Vanguard is the only South African-owned company with the expertise and capacity – including fully-licenced and registered equipment – to offer a full turnkey project solution to the growing wind-energy market.

“Our skilled experts produce the high quality of workmanship required on each project, to stay in budget and time constraints without compromising safety,” said Bryan Hodgkinson, managing director of Vanguard.