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Vanguard to handle crane operations for Port Elizabeth wind energy project

Specialist in turnkey heavy lift and transport tapped to position 20 Vestas V112, 3.0MW WTG’s at an average rate of two a week.

Vanguard, the specialist in turnkey heavy lift, transport and plant relocation, is providing the craning solution for 20 wind turbine generators at the new Grassridge wind energy facility near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. The job calls for Vanguard to lift and position the Vestas V112, 3.0MW wind turbine generators at an average rate of two a week on the R1,2 billion facility, which can  generate up to  60 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy – enough for about 40,000 homes – from the last quarter of 2014.
Once the base of the turbine tower is secured on its foundation at the wind farm site, Vanguard’s GTK1100 crane and support crane are then positioned to ‘top and tail’ the two top tower sections of each turbine, with the top tower sections weighing up to 60 tons and measuring up to 30 metres in length.
“We then lift and position the remaining components of the turbine,” Joost Heystek, project manager, explained. “This includes the nacelle, which is the cover housing for all the generating components - the generator and drive train - hub and the three 55 metre turbine blades.”
This is no small feat. The drivetrain alone weighs some 60 tonnes, with the combined weight of the nacelle and its contents exceeding 130 tonnes. The considerable size and weight of the nacelle makes it necessary to transport its components separately and to assemble them on site, making for a demanding and well-coordinated operation among the service providers.
Deployment of highly experienced personnel, combined with specialised equipment, ensures that the project has proceeded quickly and efficiently. Vanguard teamed up with Azari Group, the mechanical and electrical installation service providers of the WTG’s.
The project developer is InnoWind, a local wind energy developer owned by EDF Energies Nouvelles; project ownership is shared with the Industrial Development Corporation and the Grassridge Winds of Change Community Trust, a local development trust for the Motherwell community. The project’s commercial operation is expected to continue for the next 20 years. Grassridge wind farm is part of the Department of Energy’s renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme (REIPPPP).

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Energy infrastructure  •  Wind power