Green IT

Atlantis green tech zone eyes R3.7bn boost

Read time 3min 20sec
GreenCape says local manufacturing of Kangnas Wind Farm's turbines signals the recovery of the SEZ for green technologies.
GreenCape says local manufacturing of Kangnas Wind Farm's turbines signals the recovery of the SEZ for green technologies.

The Atlantis Green Technologies Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is set to get a R3.7 billion investment boost.

This is according to GreenCape, a non-profit organisation that drives the widespread adoption of economically viable green economy solutions from the Western Cape.

Situated on the West Coast of South Africa, 40km from Cape Town, the Atlantis SEZ capitalises on the province's already booming renewable energy and green technology sector.

Special Economic Zones are key tools used by the South African government for driving industrial and economic development.

Wind turbine tower sections for the 140MW Kangnas Wind Farm, one of the Renewable Energy Industry Power Producer Procurement Programme's giant Bid Window 4 projects, are being manufactured locally at the Atlantis SEZ.

This as power utility Eskom, which supplies about 90% of SA's power need, struggles to keep the lights on thanks to liquidity challenges, among other issues.

Yesterday, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa approved electricity price hikes of 9.41%, 8.1% and 5.2% for the next three financial years, far below Eskom's application for double-digit tariff increases.

This morning, Eskom issued a statement saying the risk of load-shedding remains very high today as the power system remains tight and vulnerable.

Kangnas Wind Farm is situated in the Nama Khoi Municipal area in the Northern Cape. This province is home to more than half the country's 112 independent power producers, with more than 19 projects already connected to the grid with a capacity of 900MW.

Once operational, Kangnas Wind Farm will deliver 140MW of clean renewable power from its 61, 115m high, wind turbines. It will have the capacity to generate around 563 500MWh of clean renewable energy per year and is expected to supply electricity to power up to 120 000 South African homes.

The facility is expected to eliminate approximately 550 000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year when compared to traditional fossil fuel power plants.

According to GreenCape, the local manufacturing of Kangnas Wind Farm's turbines signals the recovery of the SEZ for green technologies, which, it says, has already attracted R680 million in green technology investments and has created over 300 jobs.

The organisation expects the zone to attract a further R3.7 billion of investment from renewable energy and other manufacturers, and nearly 3 000 jobs are expected to be created by 2030 if these investments are realised.

It points out that manufacturing industries, in particular, stand to benefit from wind farms that are being constructed around the country.

Two of these large power-generating plants will receive their turbine tower sections from GRI, a Spanish wind tower manufacturer, which has invested R475 million to date, and was one of the first to see the benefits of locating in the Atlantis SEZ, says GreenCape.

It adds that even prior to designation of the SEZ, GRI had made the most of the City of Cape Town's available infrastructure and rapid land release and approvals process to land them on their chosen ground.

"GRI's South African wind tower company is 25% owned by local black shareholders, while 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," says Francis Jackson, SEZ project executive, GreenCape.

"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," explains Manie Kotze, construction project manager at Kangnas Wind Farm.

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