3 September 2013 – Subsidiary of JSE-listed Consolidated Infrastructure group (CIG), Conco, has launched an operations and maintenance division with a focus on wind farms. CEO of CIG Raoul Gamsu says, “We have gained experience as the leading independent supplier of high voltage substations and other transmission infrastructure on the continent. We now need a business to maintain what we have built."
Gamsu believes operations and maintenance performed on wind farms could extend their lives. A farm with a 20 year life could have it extended by four years or more, Gamsu suggests.
Next Level Renewables, a global renewable energy consultancy, whose expertise the CIG operations and maintenance division will tap into, says it has found that many South African companies have not used specialised maintenance suppliers. They instead used original equipment manufacturers. "Using operations and maintenance can mean the difference between creating a viable company and an insolvent one," Bo Thisted, president and cofounder of Next Level Renewables, says.
Thisted says there is a need for specially trained technicians who focus on operations and maintenance. Gamsu says this could be a challenge for South Africa because companies needed to convince engineers to live in smaller towns, such as Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape where wind farms are being established.