Nelson Mandela Bay on track as Africa’s ‘Green’ Energy hub

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) – operator of the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) and the Eastern Cape’s leading catalyst for socio-economic growth – announced recently that Nelson Mandela Bay is well on its way to become the country and continent’s hotspot for ‘green’ energy components manufacturing and technologies.

This according to Sandisiwe Ncemane, CDC investment manager: energy division. In its 2013/14 financial year, the CDC secured foreign investments close to R1bn for ‘green’ energy component manufacturing in South Africa.

Investments attracted to the Coega IDZ in the last year include JA Solar and Powerway’s now operational R660m solar module manufacturing facility, and a R127m renewable energy components manufacturing facility owned by Powerway/Sungrow which will commence with production within the year.

A new ground-mounted solar energy harvesting plant was also commissioned for the Coega IDZ and announced by the CDC earlier this month.

The R300m DCD Wind Towers production facility also went online this year, and the plant will have an estimated annual production output of 110 and 120 wind towers.

Ncemane  said, “The CDC profile as a green technology manufacturing hub of South Africa has gained traction in renewable energy projects.  On-grid and off-grid green energy component manufacturing which includes, among others wind towers and solar photo voltaic (PV) panels in the Coega IDZ is alive and well.”

“These investments are critical in supporting 64 renewable energy projects valued at R100-billion approved by South African government since 2011, which will produce 3 900 megawatts (MW) for South Africa’s energy mix through wind, solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar power,” she said.

The organisation remains bullish over the future of alternative energy component manufacturing investments in the new financial year, according to Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC head of marketing and communications.

“New legislation, government’s robust renewable energy strategy and other value propositions inherent to Nelson Mandela Bay will support future investment and investment interest in the Eastern Cape’s green manufacturing economy,” Vilakazi said.

“The new SEZ Act has introduced significant tax benefits, a reduction of red tape and labour productivity-enhancing mechanisms to investors, which will make the Coega IDZ attractive as a location for investment.This further supported by Nelson Mandela Bay’s long-standing position as an industrial and manufacturing economic hub and, the availability of deep-water sea port, and a commitment towards green energy research by our local university. 

“The sum of these parts provide a unique arrangement of value propositions which is driving the attraction for foreign and local investment in the Coega IDZ,” concluded Dr. Vilakazi.