South African subsidiary of leading renewable energy project developer JUWI has begun construction of the 84MW Wolf Wind project after reaching financial close, as an energy crisis pushes more demand for alternative sources of power in one of Africa’s biggest economies. The facility is projected to begin generating electricity for the South African grid by Q1 2024.
“The Wolf Wind Project will be generating more than 360 GWh of clean electricity for the South African grid per year,” Red Rocket Chief Executive Officer, Matteo Brambilla, said in a statement. The renewable energy company won the bid for the project in Round 5 of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REI4P). The initiative aims to bring more megawatts into the country’s electricity system through private investments in renewable energy sources. “We’re proud to have partnered with JUWI on this project and pleased to have started construction on this and other large wind projects.”
The Wolf Wind Project, located two hours from the city of Gqeberha, is the second wind project developed by JUWI under REI4P. The first — the 138 MW Garob Wind Project — began commercial operation in 2021.
Tackling an energy crisis with renewable energy
“JUWI is committed to developing projects that help South Africa address the energy crisis and achieve the clean energy transition, and so the progress in rolling out REI4P projects is very encouraging,” said Richard Doyle, Managing Director, JUWI South Africa.
South Africa is facing an energy crisis caused partly by aging coal plants in need of constant maintenance. This has led to load-shedding implemented through a series of rolling blackouts, which has become part of the country’s power grid since 2007. Last year, the country experienced 3,773 hours of loadshedding according to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – or over 157 days.
According to the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, South Africa’s total domestic electricity generation capacity stands at 58,095 megawatts. But most of it—around 80%—comes from coal-fired power plants.
President Ramaphosa wants South Africa to begin phasing out some coal-fired generation by 2050. Under its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2019), the country wants to install over 25GW of renewable energy capacity and 3GW of energy storage by 2030 via its REI4P auctions.
JUWI South Africa (JUWI Renewable Energies Pty. Ltd) says it is supporting a mix of clean energy projects, including over 1.5 GW of wind, 2 GW of solar and 5OO MW of hybrid projects for various clients.
To support growing demand from private and public energy users, Richard Doyle says JUWI plans to develop a further combined 1 GW of wind, solar and hybrid projects in 2023.