Wind power generation; experts visit South Africa


As part of efforts for the country to consider wind power generation, a 15-member delegation of engineers energy experts from the country have  visited Lekela, a renewable power generation company in South Africa.

The visit by the 15 engineers and managers from the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), was designed to share best practice on connecting renewable sources of energy like wind power to a country’s national grid.

The Ghanaian delegation visited Lekela’s Loeriesfontein and Khobab wind farms. Each site has an installed capacity of 140 MW and both were recently connected to South Africa’s Eskom grid, providing a parallel for the Ghanaian experts to research.

The delegation attended ‘Grid Code testing’ for each site. This is undertaken before a wind farm can be connected to a country’s national energy grid. For commercial operations a wind farm must be tested to certify that is complies with both performance requirements and the grid code.

The Vice President of Business Development for Sub-Saharan Africa at Lekela, Mr Mikael Schoultz, said, “one of the great advantages of wind power is the short time it takes from construction starting to energy being produced.”

“The more knowledge we can share between African nations on processes like this, the quicker we can work together to deliver clean, sustainable power to homes and businesses. Adding 225 MW of clean wind energy to Ghana’s existing hydro power plants will help deliver the reliable electricity supply the country will benefit from.”

The Director of Engineering at GRIDCo, Mr Samuel F Kwofie, said, “this proved a highly valuable trip. We are looking forward to the construction, integration and operation of the Ayitepa wind project, beginning next year. As the first utility scale wind farm in Ghana, it will add considerable energy to Ghana’s grid and lay the groundwork to build more renewable energy sources in the country.”

“Our visit to the Loeriesfontein wind farm in South Africa has deepened our understanding of wind technology. It has also made clear the technical benefits wind energy brings to the grid, particularly in voltage stability,” he added.

The General Manager for Regulatory and Governmental Affairs of ECG, Mr Ebenezer Baiden, said “the visit and training sessions were an eye opener to the Ghanaian Delegation in three ways: First, it provided a clear understanding of the prerequisites for commissioning a wind farm, processes required and the criteria for acceptance of test results.”

He said the visit also afforded the team the opportunity to know how wind power projects could support grid balancing and dispatch.

The South African based company intends to build and operate Ghana’s first utility scale wind project, the 225 MW wind farm at Ayitepa.

Financial close and construction are expected to start in 2018 and the first electricity will be ready to flow to the grid nine months later.

As a result of the short construction phase, preparing the grid connection has quickly become a priority.

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