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Atlantis wind turbine tower manufacturing signals renewables industry’s recovery

Atlantis wind turbine tower manufacturing signals renewables industry’s recovery

7TH MARCH 2019 

BY: TASNEEM BULBULIA 
CREAMER MEDIA REPORTER

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Wind turbine tower sections for the 140 MW Kangnas Wind Farm, one of the Round 4 Renewable EnergyIndependent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) projects, are being manufactured locally, at the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ), in the Western Cape.

Kangnas Wind Farm said in a statement this week that this signals the recovery of the SEZ that had been set up for green technologies, which according to Green Cape, has already attracted R680-million in green technology investments and has created over 300 jobs.

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It is expected that the SEZ 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 built in South Africa.

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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 establishing a factory at 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 processes to secure their chosen ground.

GRI weathered the storm of the REIPPPP delays and were able to ramp up to full operations again after confirming contracts in the fourth bid window, which includes Kangnas Wind Farm and Perdekraal East Wind Farm. 

GRI’s South African wind tower company is 25% owned by local shareholders, while their 250 or so employees have benefited from skills transfer, some [receiving] training and experience in Spain and the US, and bringing their skills back to the community,” explained GreenCape SEZ projectexecutive Francis Jackson.

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 REIPPPP project to receive towers manufactured by GRI, following the industry’s two-year impasse, with the manufacturer’s full capacity dedicated to these projects,” explained Kangnas Wind Farm construction project manager Manie Kotze.

Kangnas Wind Farm is situated in the Nama Khoi Municipal area, in the Northern Cape.  This province is the recipient of the majority of Independent Power Producers from the latest bid window, green lighted almost a year ago. 

EDITED BY: CHANEL DE BRUYN

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