Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas on Tuesday announced that it has established a permanent office in South Africa to serve the southern African region, in what it said was the “recognition of the positive environment for wind energy” in the region.
“Vestas sees southern Africa – and South Africa in particular – as key emerging markets for us and as leaders in the development of wind energy in Africa,” said Vestas central Europe president Hans Jörn Rieks.
“South Africa has made a solid commitment to a clean energy future and we want to build strong and constructive partnerships with customers, government, the energy industry and the sustainable development community to develop a sustainable wind industry,” he added.
Vestas sales senior vice-president Hans Vestegaard noted that Vestas Southern Africa contributed input into the Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) hearings into the Integrated Resource Plan 2, as it was “important to makes ourselves heard, and not just sit and wait for the orders to come in”.
Vestas Southern Africa business development manager Daniel Kurylo would head up the South African office.
DoE clean energy deputy director general David Modise said that the establishment of the local office, as well as the projects that Vestas was involved in were milestones that deserved to be celebrated as they would help the government reach its renewable energy targets in the most efficient way.
Under the renewable energy white paper the government has set a target of generating 10 000 GWh of power from renewable energy source by 2013. Modise also noted that the department was currently in the process of reviewing this white paper, with a view to setting up more ambitious targets.
Vestas also noted that opening of the office coincided with the successful commissioning of South Africa’s newest wind turbine at Coega – a Vestas V90-1,8 MW – in Port Elizabeth.
The Coega turbine is a project of Belgian energy developer Electrawinds, and was providing electricity to the stadium in Port Elizabeth free of charge for the duration of the FIFA World Cup.
The Coega turbine was expected to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 3,7 t/y, and will produce an estimated 5,7-millon MWh of clean energy a year – enough for over 2 400 South African families.
Vestegaard said that the Electrawinds turbine was the eighth wind turbine to be erected in South Africa, which meant that the country had 9 MW of installed wind power.
Considering that study estimates have shown that some 8 000 MW of wind power could easily be generated by wind power in South Africa, he added that there was plenty more wind power to be harnessed in the country.