Work on wind farm project on course


31-August-2012

Minister Payet and his delegation touring the construction work on the three wind turbines being erected at Ile du Port

The Port Victoria wind farm is only the first phase of a wider renewable energy development programme and is expected to prove the viability of using new energy sources in Seychelles.
The US $22 million project is being funded by the United Arab Emirates.

The minister, who was accompanied by his acting principal secretary Alain de Commarmond and the chief executive of the energy commission Andrew Jean-Louis, was shown around by Grant Heyer and Conrad Mondon of the Avalon Project management, one of the sub-contractors of the South Korean firm, Unisson, the main contractors.

Besides the three wind turbines on Ile du Port, five others are being installed at Romainville island, where piles are still being driven into the seabed.

Mr Mondon said because Ile Du Port is linked to the mainland, work is at a more advanced stage there, but Romainville should catch up within a couple of weeks.

The minister called it one of the “greatest feats of engineering” ever undertaken in Seychelles.

This involved driving piles 40 metres into the seabed to support the base into which three sections of the tower will be bolted, before the top end is fitted with three 24-metre long blades to tap wind energy.

Pilling was done by Vijay Construction, also sub-contracted by Unisson.
The turbines on Ile du Port will be an average 68-metre high, while those on Romainville will be several metres lower as they will stand in aircraft flight pathway.

The turbines have already been shipped from South Korea and their arrival in the port, along with 300-ton cranes, will coincide with the time the concrete bases are being laid.

Prof Payet was told that about 100 tons of special sea-water-resistant cement will be used for the first time for each reinforced concrete base, which will have to set at one go over a period of about 10 hours.

This will necessitate a workforce of about 150 workers from Mahe Builders, another sub-contractor.

It will each take a minimum seven days to harden and will constantly be kept moist while setting is taking place.

Prof Payet said bases have to be extremely strong to be able to take the forces exerted by the turbines during high winds.

He added that wind power is a viable, clean and renewable energy source that must be harnessed to reduce our dependence on imported fuel, mitigate the risks of climate change and ensure the preservation of the islands’ natural beauty for future generations.

Prof Payet said since the wind velocity varies, state-of-the-art equipment being used on the turbines will optimise tapping of power for national needs.

At the present rate of progress, Prof Payet was told that the wind turbines will have been erected by the end of 2012. However, various tests will have to be carried out before they are commissioned – probably towards mid-2013.  

Before proceeding to Ile du Port, Prof Payet and his delegation visited a newly built sub-station of the Public Utilities Company near the roundabout of the road leading to English River, which will be connected to the electricity grid and manage fluctuations in the voltage system.

They were told that the sub-station will be linked to the main PUC station by optic fibre cable.

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