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TOWER MANUFACTURING SIGNALS WIND INDUSTRY’S RECOVERY

March 2019.

Wind turbine tower sections for the 140MW Kangnas Wind Farm, one of the Renewable Energy Industry Power Producer Procurement Programmes (REI4Ps) giant Bid Window 4 projects, are being manufactured locally, on Cape Town’s West Coast, in Atlantis. This signals the recovery of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for Green Technologies, which according to Green Cape, has already attracted R680 million in green technology investments and has created over 300 jobs. It is expected that the zone will attract a further R3.7 billion of investment by renewable energy and other manufacturers, and nearly 3,000 jobs are expected to be created by 2030 if these investments are realised.

Manufacturing industries, in particular, stand to benefit from wind farms that are currently being constructed around the country. Two of these large power generating plants, will be receiving their turbine tower sections from GRI, a Spanish wind tower manufacturer, which has invested R475 million to date, and was one of the first to see the benefits of locating in the Atlantis SEZ. Even prior to designation of the SEZ, GRI had made the most of the City of Cape Town’s available infrastructure and rapid land release and approvals process to land them on their chosen ground.

GRI weathered the storm of the REI4P delays and were able to ramp up to full operations again after confirming contracts in BW4, which include Kangnas Wind Farm and Perdekraal East Wind Farm.

“GRI’s South African wind tower company is 25% owned by local Black shareholders, whilst their 250 or so employees have benefited from skills transfer, some seeing training and experience in Spain and USA, and bringing their skills back to the community,” explained Francis Jackson, SEZ Project Executive, GreenCape.

The Atlantis Green Technology SEZ was a deliberate effort to create manufacturing, broadly in the green economy, and with specific opportunities in renewables. “Kangnas Wind Farm is the first REI4P power producer to receive towers manufactured by GRI, following the industry’s two year impasse, with the manufacturer’s full capacity dedicated to these projects,” explain Manie Kotze, Construction Project Manager for Kangnas Wind Farm.

Kangnas Wind Farm is situated in the Nama Khoi Municipal area, in the Northern Cape. This Province is the recipient of the majority of IPP’s from the latest bid window, green lighted almost a year ago.