Owing to Southern Africa’s vast coastline and high winds, energy distributor Vert Energy believes that there are plenty of opportunities for the wind power division of its business to grow, in both the residential and the independent power producer (IPP) sectors.
Vert Energy MD Grant Robertson comments that the company has positioned itself at the forefront of the energy sector in Southern Africa, offering solutions for the traditional petrol and diesel power generation markets but with a growing focus on providing a range of products for renewable-energy sources such as hydro, wind, natural gas and solar energy.
Robertson further details that Vert Energy’s extensive range of power-generation components for the production of wind power in domestic and light commercial applications with light resistive loads of between 600 W and 3 kW makes it an ideal solution for coastal towns with consistent winds patterns.
He explains that, for these applications, the NSM range of low-voltage permanent magnet generators (PMGs) is ideal for small business and residential homes. In addition, Vert Energy is able to meet the demands of IPPs, large-scale industrial users and utilities for full-scale power plant production. The solutions incorporate low- and medium-voltage Leroy Somer alternators and DEIF generator controls and pitch gear for wind applications.
Robertson points out that Vert Energy was appointed distributor of the NSM range at Electra Mining Africa last month.
“The NSM range of premium branded products, which ensure reliable electric power-generation solutions, is enhanced by a technical advisory and support service to ensure that there is no interruption in power supply, as a result of load-shedding or mains failure.”
He adds that NSM has also launched a new range of PMGs for micro wind energy production, with features for high performance and low cogging to ensure that the wind turbine spins even with minimum wind speed. “This range supplies continuous output power, from 0.5 kVA to 6 kVA, with a high overload capacity for a limited time span,” he states.
Moreover, Robertson illustrates that the Leroy Somer alternators, which have been available exclusively throughout sub-Saharan Africa from Vert Energy since 2011, are known in the wind power generation sector for high electrical efficiency, reliability and strict compliance with environmental constraints. The alternators are supplied to market-leading engineering, procurement and construction companies that source the alternators from the manufacturing facilities in France, India and China, along with other components as part of turnkey projects for the installation of blades and masts in the wind power sector. “The real opportunity is for a South African entity to offer a locally manufactured solution for Africa, as the vast majority of these projects are handled from Europe and Asia,” notes Robertson.
“Leroy Somer has developed a water-cooled system especially for wind turbine applications. Water cooling, which focuses on the active parts of the generator, guarantees heat control and extends the service life of the generator,” he details.
Robertson comments that Leroy Somer has also developed a reinforced insulation system, which enhances the generator’s reliability in demanding wind turbine environments that are often subjected to salt and dust.
The Leroy Somer alternators, with power outputs of between 600 kW and 5 MW, can operate in extreme ambient temperatures and cope efficiently with highly variable load cycles and high overvoltage currents, thanks to the use of integrated converters. “Other features include the compact design, efficient cooling and low noise levels,” he adds.
Further, Robertson says the company has also been appointed exclusive distributors in sub-Saharan Africa for the sales and support of DEIF generator control solutions for decentralised power production in land-based power production.
“Vert was appointed the exclusive distributors for DEIF solutions for land and marine, and works in collaboration with the DEIF wind power business division, in Denmark, on wind power projects. These projects include new installations and the retrofitment of new components into older turbine applications.”
He adds that DEIF has a dedicated business division with skilled engineers who develop customised control solutions according to each project’s unique requirements.
Robertson notes that the robust DEIF components, designed for all sizes and types of turbines, incorporate the latest technology for efficient power and speed control, thus minimising structural loads and optimising energy production over the lifetime of the turbine.
He asserts that DEIF wind turbine controllers, which are supplied with the customised wind turbine control strategy, withstand all environmental conditions, including temperature variations, storm and lightning conditions, vibrations and shock.
“This control concept is a cost-efficient and easy-to-implement all-in-one solution, which integrates functionalities such as synchronisation, regulation, protection, power management, auxiliary management and circuit management,” he explains.
Robertson maintains that Vert Energy seeks to understand each client’s unique application requirements and tailor-makes a bespoke offering of products and services that meet these demands within budgetary parameters and timelines as part of a turnkey solution.