By Antonio Ruffini

15 May 2013 – With South African heavy engineering group DCD having already begun construction of a wind tower factory at the Coega industrial development zone in the Eastern Cape, Suzlon, India’s largest wind-turbine maker, says its plans to build a plant in the country are also advanced.

Rob King, CEO of DCD, has said that there is room in the South African market, which plans for 8,400 MW of wind projects over the next 20 years, for a second or even third local factory. The country’s energy policy has taken a strong stance on localisation and the need for the renewable energy projects being undertaken to ensure technology transfer and create jobs in South Africa.

The second round of South Africa’s renewable energy independent power producer programme (REIPPP) saw seven wind projects totalling 562.6 MW achieve financial closure on the 9th of May 2013, while eight first round projects totalling 634 MW are already under construction across the country. The local content requirements have been increasing with the requirement for round one being 25%, that for round two 35% and the third round where bidding is projected to take place later in 2013 requiring 40% local content. This policy is conducive to the establishment of South African based manufacturing facilities, particularly for the steel tower structures, and possibly turbine blades and hubs.

Suzlon has also been short-listed for projects in Mozambique and Madagascar, and has been invited to bid for others in Zimbabwe and Nigeria, according to Silas Zimu, chief executive officer of the company’s South African unit.