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May 19, 2014

German wind turbine OEMs set sights firmly on SA

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German wind turbine manufacturers and service providers have set their sights on the South African wind energy market, saying they are eager to establish affiliations with local municipalities, large energy users and turbine component manufacturers in a bid to roll out German wind energy technology locally and advance the use of renewable energy elsewhere in Africa.

Five Germany-based wind turbine original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and service providers –Deutsche Windtechnik Repowering, Asmus Wind, Dehn & Söhne,Wilmers Messtechnik and Turbina Energy – are currently embarking on a weeklong trade mission to the country, which would see them meet with South African players in the wind-energy market.

“Germany would like to support foreign markets in the exploitation of renewable energies, as German companies in the renewable-energy industry stand out internationally by virtue of their lengthy experience, high product quality and capacity for innovation.

“I would like to share this comprehensive experience in the field of renewable energies with you, and thereby ensure that the international dialogue concerning environmental protection is intensified,” German Energy Agency CEO Stephan Kohler noted.

The trade mission was kicked off by a recent wind-energy seminar in Johannesburg, organised by the Southern African German Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Sustainable Energy Competence Center, which aimed to explore possible synergies between German OEMS, their South African counterparts and potential large-scale wind-energy users.

German Missions in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland head of energy, climate and environmental affairs Anita Maria Ohl-Meyer noted at the seminar that German firms wished to establish local partnerships to enable them to partake in the fourth round of government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), which opened in July.

“All the signs [in South Africa] point to the likelihood that wind energy will play a significant role in the country’s energy mix by 2020 and German expertise and experience can be very beneficial to government and South African companies [in this process].

“The German government is proud to have already played a significant role in helping the South African government  design the previous three rounds of the REIPPPP, which were very transparent,” she commented.

According to Department of Trade and Industry green economy director Cobs Pillay, the first two rounds of government’s REIPPPP had led to a total investment of R75-billion, while the third round saw capital inflow of a further R33-billion.

International companies that had already significantly invested in South Africa’s energy sector or were in the final stages of doing so included AEG, Kinko Solar, AVT Solar, DCD Dorbyl and Gestamp.

“The South Afrcan government works closely with industry associations to develop policies and initiatives that will enable further investment. Among these are the Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme, foreign investment shipping grants and tax incentives,” Pillay explained.

Germany’s local wind-energy ambitions followed the inking of a German–South African Energy Partnership last year, which looked to bring together government and the private sector to establish a more coherent approach to the country’s energy challenges and provide a forum for consultation and integration between various stakeholders in the energy field.

Among the companies attending this week’s trade mission, Deutsche Windtechnik Repowering was looking to establish a pilot project in the country to test the viability of using refurbished wind turbines in energy generation.

Company representative Jan Büsing said the project would require a partnership with a local high-energy user such as a municipality or manufacturing plant.

“We want to be co-investors on the project, but we need a local partner to test the concept of using second-hand wind turbines at a South African wind farm. We want to prove that it can work,” he noted.

Edited by: Tracy Hancock
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