PE manufactured wind tower transported to wind farm

DCD Wind Towers has officially completed its first in-house manufactured wind tower at its R300m facility at the Coega Industrial Development  Zone.

The massive tower was transported on Thusday to the Grassridge Wind Energy Facility on the outskirts of Nelson Mandela Bay.

The DCD Wind Towers manufacturing facility is a joint initiative between the DCD Group, the Industrial Development Corporation and the Coega Development Corporation.

The facility was specifically established in the Coega IDZ to support the localisation of wind tower manufacturing in South Africa, which essentially ensures the long-term and sustainable creation of an estimated 150 to 200 operational positions and 628 construction jobs.

DCD Wind Towers general manager Gerrit Viviers notes that the direct operational jobs created through the establishment of the DCD Wind Towers factory include; boilermakers, shot-blasting operators, cutting operators, chamfering operators, roller operators, coded welders and fitters.

"What's more, a number of unskilled and semi-skilled individuals have been employed for sand blasting, painting and oxy-fuel cutting. The benefits to the local economy will penetrate beyond local skilled jobs and training to include logistics opportunities and additional value chain opportunities, thus creating a new industry in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape too," he explains.

DCD Wind Towers is also contributing positively to sustainable and renewable power generation, as set out by the Department of Energy's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). DCD Wind Towers has already signed co-operation agreements with the turbine manufacturers that have been successful in Round 2 of the REIPPPP.

The DCD Wind Towers factory is expected to manufacture between 120 and 150 towers per year for the successful bidders in the REIPPPP programme. These towers will be manufactured to the highest international standards of quality and to exact OEM specifications, while remaining uniquely local.

CDC head of marketing and communications Ayanda Vilakazi, notes that the DCD Wind Towers manufacturing facility will diversify the traditionally automotive sector reliant Nelson Mandela Bay industrial base. "We want to attract investors to the Coega IDZ who are able to add value to the supply chain and align with national government's drive for localisation of manufacturing, especially in the renewables sector where there are many gaps for high-tech innovation and manufacture. A prime example of the success of this approach is DCD Wind Towers."

IDC senior account manager for the metal, transport and machinery products unit, Joseph Sithole, believes that the manufacturing sector is of tremendous importance to South Africa's long-term economic prospects, and suggests that the establishment of the DCD Wind Towers manufacturing facility is the first step in boosting investor confidence within the renewables sector.