Vestas nails down first turbine order in South Africa

Vestas has secured its first firm turbine order as part of South Africa’s rejuvenated renewables programme, with plans to deliver and install 37 of its V100 1.8MW turbines to the Hopefield wind farm by February 2014.

Vestas was named preferred supplier in two of the eight wind projects allocated in South Africa’s first tender window last December.

In addition to the 67MW Hopefield project in Western Cape, led by South African developer Umoya Energy, it has also been tapped to supply the 73MW Noblesfontein project, developed by Spain’s Gestamp and its local partners.

In addition to acting as engineering, procurement and construction contractor for Hopefield, Vestas has also won a 15-year service agreement.

“For us, this project marks the exciting start of developing large wind power plants and several hundred megawatts in South Africa over the next few years,” says Wolfgang Schmitz, president of Vestas Central Europe.

After several months of delay, the South African government last week finalised power-purchase agreements with the 28 renewables developers granted “first window” projects last year.

Almost immediately, a number of developers clinched financing agreements and began gearing up for construction, including US-based SolarReserve, Japan’s Sumitomo, Spain’s Abengoa and Ireland’s Mainstream Renewable Power.

Interest in the South African tender rounds has been high among global wind turbine makers, who view the country as a springboard into other emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa, such as Namibia, Kenya, Angola, Tanzania and Ghana – as well as a critical emerging market in its own right.

Aside from Vestas, both Germany’s Nordex and China’s Sinovel were named preferred supplier for two projects, while Siemens and Suzlon also had their names attached to winning bids.

All developers and manufacturers are expected to source a significant amount of components and expertise locally – a challenge in a country with no experience building renewables projects.