Hydropower at L’Ormarins
The climb to the top of the mountain behind L’Ormarins Wine Estate in Franschhoek is strenuous. You’re gaining over 300m in altitude in a distance of 1.2km, which makes the gradient rather steep, but this is what provides the 300m head which powers the 2.3MW of hydropower generating capacity installed at the behest of estate owner, Johann Rupert.
If you do make the trek up the mountain, you’ll get to see the cleverly constructed weir, invisible from below, that splits the water flow out of the mountain between the pipeline that channels the water down to the turbine house, and the predetermined fixed minimum reserve flow to the beautiful waterfall that cascades down the mountain side.
Inside the turbine house it is quiet, save for a faint hum of electronics from the cabinet against the wall, which houses the control equipment for this fully automated system. The rainy season is yet to come and once it does, L’Ormarins will enjoy about eight months of green energy, which it banks for the dry season by feeding it back into the Eskom grid.
View full story and view all the pictures: Western Cape Government