In 2011, LM Wind Power, headquartered in Denmark, signed a cooperation agreement with Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa Ltd to jointly work to establish local manufacturing of blades to reduce costs for wind turbine manufacturers.
The company says it now has confirmed interest from customers in order to proceed to the next stage.
LM Wind Power will be looking for a suitable site location for a blade manufacturing facility on the coast of South Africa between Cape Town and the Port Elizabeth areas.
|The development in South Africa coupled with increased local content requirements have the potential to drive the development of a local wind energy supply chain, which could ultimately lead to South Africa becoming a manufacturing hub for all of or part of the African continent.
|Søren Høffer, LM Wind Power VP Sales and Marketing
The factory will be based on LM Wind Power's modular factory concept recently used for fast construction of its facilities in the USA, Poland, China and Brazil and could generate employment of up to 300 people once fully operational.
Wind energy in South Africa
According to LM Wind Power, the South African government has indicated that it wants a wind market of about 500-600 MW per year over the next two decades and it has recently launched tenders for several MW of renewable energy including wind.
The auctions call for increased local content percentages that would benefit local production of major components like blades, which typically make up approximately 15% of the price of a turbine, reports LM.
Local manufacturing will provide more competitive wind energy as well as create new local jobs and knowledge opportunities combined with growth for local industries.