Darling Wind Farm powers ahead

Darling Wind Farm

Darling Wind Farm. (Image courtesy Warrenski)

The City of Cape Town today announced its imminent plans to sell Green Electricity Certificates, which will give Capetonians the opportunity to buy green electricity generated at the Darling Wind Farm on the West Coast, from the City.

Alderman Clive Justus, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services and various partners of the Darling Wind Farm project briefed the media on this historic first step to ‘green’ Cape Town’s energy usage.

Alderman Justus said: “It is particularly significant that the sale of the Green Energy Certificates is taking place in the same week as the WWF’s International Earth Hour on 27 March, when, as a demonstration of solidarity, commitment and awareness, lights in prominent places across the globe will be switched off for one hour as a mark of acknowledgement that energy efficiency must become the new way of life. The City is also included in this movement and will simultaneously be switching off the lights on Table Mountain as well as in other public buildings, to mark this event”.

The City enabled the Darling Wind Farm Project in 2006 by entering into a Power Purchase Agreement with Darling Wind Power Pty (Ltd) as an important first step to reach its stated target to source 10% of its overall energy requirements from sustainable sources by 2020. The Darling Wind Farm is a R70 million national pilot project funded jointly by the Danish Government through Danida, the National Department of Minerals and Energy, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Darling Independent Power Producing Company. It comprises four wind turbines situated on a hill alongside the R27 West Coast Road near the turn off to Darling. The turbines began generating in May 2008.

Conventional electricity is produced from expendable fossil fuels, such as coal and diesel, which are a major source of pollution. The renewable electricity generated by the wind farm, also called ‘green electricity’, is an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional electricity.

As it would be impractical to install new power lines all the way from the Darling Wind Farm to the premises of green electricity purchasers, the City will sell Green Electricity Certificates to enable consumers to participate in the generation of green electricity, without being directly connected by a power line to the renewable energy source. Electricity consumers can claim to have consumed green electricity if the amount of units of the Green Electricity Certificates purchased by them is equivalent to or exceeds the amount of normal electricity consumed by the facility, premises or process for which the claim is made.

The certificates will be offered for sale once or twice a year, depending on how much green electricity has been generated and how much Green Certificate Stock has been accumulated. The City will within the next few weeks be advertising the sale of an initial 10 GWh (10 000 000 kWh) of green electricity for which interested persons will be requested to submit an application.

Income from the sale of the Green Electricity Certificates is intended to cover the premium the City has to pay for purchasing the green electricity. The certificates will be sold initially at a price of 25c per unit (1 kWh) and it is not expected that the price will increase over the next few years. The purchase of Green Electricity Certificates is an additional purchase and an additional expense to the cost of the normal electricity bill.

“The sale of Green Electricity Certificates will give many companies the opportunity to demonstrate to the public, clients and potential clients that they are conducting their business in a sustainable manner. It will also give them the opportunity to cost effectively use renewable energy without having to invest in new infrastructure or technologies,” said Justus.

Further details of the Darling Wind Farm Project, Green Electricity Certificates and the application process will be posted on the City of Cape Town’s website soon.

[Courtesy of the City of Cape Town]

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