China Energy in South Africa holds open day on wind power project

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An open day event to showcase daily operations, COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control measures, and resumption of work at South Africa's largest wind power project was held on Monday.

The event at the De Aar wind power project was themed "Greener Energy, Greener Life." It was presided over by Longyuan South Africa Renewables of China Longyuan Power Group Corporation Limited, a subsidiary of China Energy Investment Corporation (China Energy), to demonstrate how Chinese SOEs fulfill their responsibilities.

During the event, local employee Beverly ushered guests around different parts of the De Aar wind farm, showing them the substation, the central control room, wind turbine tower, and nacelle. He informed the visitors about the electricity generation principle, the structure of the wind turbine and layout of the wind farm, as well as how the wind farm operate and pandemic prevention measures.

According to staff members, the De Aar wind farm has been in stable and safe operations and provided nearly 2 billion kWh of clean power to South Africa, meeting the power demands of 300,000 households.

Since the pandemic broke out, the wind farm has provided more than 200 million kWh of electricity to affected areas.

It went into operation in 2017 and was the first of its kind to be invested, constructed, and operated by a Chinese enterprise in Africa.

It is capable of providing about 760 million kWh of power annually, equalling the power produced by burning 215,800 metric tons of standard coal and reducing emission of 619,900 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

The farm plays a key role in improving local energy structure and promoting clean and low-carbon development in South Africa.

In addition to operating the wind farm, Longyuan South Africa Renewables constructed six classrooms and teaching facilities at a local early learning center.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, it also helped the center to purchase food for children.

A teacher at the center expressed gratitude through a video call during the event.

So far, the company has invested a total of 13.25 million rand (US$752,070) to support outstanding college students in finishing their studies. It also built early learning centers for children from poverty-stricken families.

Msengana, director of economic development of a local municipality, De Aar, stressed the wind farm's contribution to local employment in an interview.

He said that the wind farm has created jobs for local people and played a significant role in supporting development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Moreover, the company invested 15 million rand in neighborhood development every year and provided funds and critical anti-pandemic supplies valued at about 3.5 million rand to Cape Town and Northern Cape to help local governments fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

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