South Africa – GRI Renewable Industries, a Spanish wind turbine tower maker has resumed operations at its GRI Towers South Africa factory on the west coast of South Africa.
GRI Towers South Africa was set up in 2014 as part of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for Green Technologies in the town of Atlantis about 60 km outside of Cape Town but had seen a lull in business over the years due to delays in approving IPPs.
The company recently resumed the manufacture of wind turbine tower sections to supply the 140MW Kangnas Wind Farm, one of the Renewable Energy Industry Power Producer Procurement Programmes Bid Window 4 projects (REI4Ps).
This signals the recovery of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for Green Technologies, which according to Green Cape, has already attracted R680 million in green technology investments and has created over 300 jobs. The SEZ is expected to attract a further R3.7 billion of investment by renewable energy and other manufacturers, and nearly 3,000 jobs are expected to be created by 2030 if these investments are realised.
GRI which has invested R475 million to date will be supplying wind turbine tower sections to Kangnas Wind Farm as well as Perdekraal East Wind Farm.
“GRI's South African wind tower company is 25% owned by local black shareholders, whilst their 250 or so employees have benefited from skills transfer, some seeing training and experience in Spain and USA, and bringing their skills back to the community,” explained Francis Jackson, SEZ Project Executive, GreenCape.
The Atlantis Green Technology SEZ was a deliberate effort to create manufacturing, broadly in the green economy, and with specific opportunities in renewables.
Kangnas Wind Farm is situated in the Nama Khoi Municipal area, in the Northern Cape Province which is the recipient of the majority of IPP’s from the latest bid window.
“Kangnas Wind Farm is the first REI4P power producer to receive towers manufactured by GRI, following the industry’s two year impasse, with the manufacturer’s full capacity dedicated to these projects,” explained Manie Kotze, Construction Project Manager for Kangnas Wind Farm.