ESB International (ESBI) has officially opened its new office in Johannesburg, in response to the business growth in South Africa. Hosted by Paul Farrell, business development manager for ESB International in Africa and attended by Joe Costello, minister of state at the department of foreign affairs and trade, Ireland, it was also the opportunity to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Arup and ESBI.

Farrell says a significant relationship exists between Arup and ESBI, based on their joined interest in renewables. Paul Cosgrove, senior consultant at Arup, sketched the context of the development of renewable energy in South Africa. “The South African government has set ambitious targets for the development of 19 GW of renewable energy in South Africa by 2030, including over 8,000 MW of onshore wind. Over the last three years, via the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme, there has been significant development in realising this target with a majority of the initial 4.0 GW allocation now under development and construction.

“Arup has a strong track record in the local REIPPP market, providing professional services for over 2.0 GW of projects. Combined with ESB International’s project development, construction management and operation experience, the joint venture enables us to provide engineering services to the South African wind industry with staff co-located in Johannesburg and Cape Town.”

Following the signing of the MOU, the participants partook of informal conversations at round tables on the current projects, different climates in South Africa vs. Ireland, applicability and application of wind farms, social and visual impact of wind farms,  current economic climate for renewable energies e.g. Madagascar and technical facts, such as numbers, capacity, cost, specifications, grid structures.

ESB International has been operating in the sub-Saharan region since the late 1990s, in a market that has an underdeveloped power infrastructure and often an unreliable supply. In recent times, the company has seen strong demand and growth for its engineering consultancy services and the new office will act as a hub for its operations in all of southern and Sub-Saharan Africa.