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World Cup Electrified by Wind Energy

Credits: ©2010 Business Green

by James Murray, BusinessGreen - The 2010 World Cup in South Africa had plenty of firsts – first World Cup to be held in Africa, first winter World Cup in decades, first opening ceremony to feature a giant dung beetle – but it can also add energy from South Africa's first commercial wind farm to the list. Belgium-based wind farm developer Electrawinds won the race to connect its first South African wind turbine to the grid ahead of the opening ceremony on 11 June 2010. It began providing energy free of charge to the Nelson Mandela Bay Football Stadium in Port Elizabeth. The single 1.8MW Vestas V90 turbine forms part of a 45MW wind farm featuring 25 turbines that is expected to become South Africa's first commercial-scale wind farm in 2011. The turbine provides 5.7 million kWh of renewable energy per year, cutting carbon emissions by enough to offset the emissions required to fly more than 68,700 fans from London to the World Cup final in Johannesburg.


Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Glow

Powered by wind, the five-tier Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was built overlooking the North End Lake in the heart of the city of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The Nelson Mandela Stadium was host to eight games during the 2010 FIFA World Cup football (soccer) tournament. ©2010 Port Elizabeth

The project was supported by carbon consultancy CO2logic and earned carbon credits through the UN-backed Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) offsetting scheme.

Speaking to BusinessGreen.com, Tanguy du Monceau, managing partner at CO2logic, said it was important that the first turbine had been connected to the grid ahead of the start of the World Cup.

"The turbine was connected just eight or nine days ago and the energy is provided to FIFA for free," he said.

"The World Cup is an important event for South Africa's future and we wanted to show that renewable energy has a big part to play in that future. We wanted to show the world that it is possible to do renewable energy not just in Europe, but in Africa as well."

He added that while the project had faced a number of technical issues, including the need to import special cranes to erect the turbines, the connection of the first turbine demonstrated that it was technically feasible. The turbine provides energy for a number of group games at the stadium, including England's crucial match against Slovenia and Germany's match against Serbia.

Africa has been earmarked as a growth market for CO2logic, which has several further wind farm projects in the offing. "Currently only three per cent of CDM projects are in Africa and we are looking at bringing more projects there," said du Monceau. "We are in discussions around plans for a wind farm in Namibia and a number of other projects are also in the pipeline."



2010 FIFA World Cup Green Goals

ElectraWinds (Belgium)