DCD-Dorbyl subsidiary Isivunguvungu Wind Energy Converter (I-WEC), a manufacturer of multi-megawatt class wind turbines, has called for clarification on the South African Department of Energy’s threshold for local content for onshore wind renewable technologies, saying it is “unexpectedly low”.
Rob King, managing director of DCD-Dorbyl, says in anticipation of future participation in the manufacture of components for wind energy enterprises, as well as nuclear power plants, the group has made a massive investment into technology and skills.
“In terms of wind energy technologies alone, we have invested R75 million to create local capacity to produce wind turbines, not only to world class standards, but to the stateof- the-art in the global wind energy technology field,” King says. “DCD-Dorbyl is capable of manufacturing the complete wind energy converters for onshore wind energy technologies with a local content of more than 60%, more than double the target that appears to be stipulated in the adjudication of the Department of Energy’s request for proposals documentation.
“We have approached the department for clarification to determine if benefit will be given to tenders with higher local content than the target set. We believe in the future of the South African wind energy sector and the significant investment we have made in order to participate in this exciting new industry bears this out. In fact, the more we look at the value chain associated with wind turbine manufacture, the more opportunity we see for industries other than ourselves to benefit. We want to be a willing partner with government to establish a successful wind energy sector and in so doing, create much-needed jobs.”
I-WEC was founded during 2009 in Cape Town, to manufacture 2.5 MW wind energy converters. A wind energy converter comprises a tower base, an 80 metre tower, a wind turbine unit and three blades per turbine, each 50 metres in length.
The engineering and design of the turbines is in accordance with the proven and certified technology provided by Aerodyn Energiesysteme GmbH in Germany, a specialist in wind energy conversion technology. I-WEC has acquired licences and technology transfer agreements from Aerodyn to manufacture 2.5 MW wind turbines and rotor blades and will manufacture the blades in a new dedicated facility, assemble the wind turbine units in an existing facility and fabricate the steel towers completely within its various plants. I-WEC’s complete manufacturing operation is complemented by inhouse erection, operating, service and maintenance facilities.
This will make I-WEC the first South African manufacturer of multi-megawatt wind energy turbines including rotor blades. The company is an active member of the South African Bureau of Standards Working Group for the Adoption of International Wind Energy Standards (International Electrotechnical Commission [IEC] standards).
I-WEC is currently demonstrating to representatives of Aerodyn and an independent German authorising body that it is capable of erecting and commissioning a wind turbine, using a first-of-production (in South Africa) wind energy converter. The wind energy converter complies fully with the stated technical requirements of the South African Department of Energy.
Once this localisation certification is in place, personnel will be trained in the operation and maintenance of the turbines, as part of DCD-Dorbyl’s private benefit organisation, in which DCD-Dorbyl has made an investment of R35 million into the training and development in selected industry sectors.
I-WEC estimates that in the medium term it will be able to create about 400 permanent jobs within the operation. I-WEC has also initiated a discussion with the German government in regard to the possible establishment of a rotor blade manufacturing training facility to equip local people with the new skills required to participate in this new sector and provide them with recognised certificates of competency. The objective is to train not only the artisans required by I-WEC, but to supply the industry with much-needed skilled and certified individuals.
The certification of the local production processes required to manufacture the 2.5 MW wind turbines is the final stage in the lead-up to full scale manufacture by the end of 2011.
The first 2.5 MW wind turbine will be completed in February 2012 and five more will be assembled over the next 15 months. Thereafter production will begin in earnest at rate of 50 units per annum in year one, 100 units in year two, ramping up to an ultimate output of 200 wind turbine units per annum for the local and international wind energy conversion markets.