Monday 26 September 2016

Mainstream starts construction on €450m SA windfarms

Paul O'Donoghue

Published 11/09/2015 | 02:30

Eddie O'Connor,Chief Executive of Mainstream Renewable Power Ltd. at the Green Party's final YES to Lisbon campaign press conference held in Dublin yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 30/9/09
Eddie O'Connor,Chief Executive of Mainstream Renewable Power Ltd. at the Green Party's final YES to Lisbon campaign press conference held in Dublin yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 30/9/09

IRISH energy firm Mainstream Renewable Power has begun construction on two large windfarms in South Africa in a venture worth over €450m.

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The windfarms, which will be located in South Africa's Northern Cape, will have a combined capacity of 280 megwatts (MW).

The Khobab and Loeriesfontein windfarms, which are situated alongside each other within the Hantam Municipality, represent a total investment value of approximately 7 billion South African Rand (€452m).

The project will be developed and owned by Mainstream's joint investment platform Lakela Power and will be managed by Mainstream Renewable Power South Africa.

Lakela is a $1.9bn investment vehicle established by Mainstream earlier this year with the aim to develop between 700 and 900MW of projects across Africa by 2018. It is a joint venture with UK-listed private equity group Actis, which has a 60pc stake.

The Loeriesfontein and Khobab windfarms are part of the South African government's round three Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme and are being managed both in terms of construction and operations by Mainstream Renewable Power South Africa.

Mainstream has been awarded a total of 848 MW of wind and solar projects under the programme since the first award in 2011, more than any other developer. It began construction on a third windfarm in the same South African province earlier this year.

The third windfarm, located in Noupoortis, will be an 80MW facility and will cost about €137m to develop. It is expected to be operational by the middle of next year.

Dublin-based Mainstream, which is headed up by former Airtricity founder Eddie O'Connor, announced last week that it made a profit of €86.6m in the first six months of the year after selling its stake in a large offshore wind project in the UK.

The profit compares to a loss of €46.6m incurred during the first half of 2014.

The company is currently raising €80m in equity and is looking at a possible flotation in 2017.

Irish Independent

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