Leading blade supplier to the wind industry, LM Wind Power, confirmed its intentions to expand its manufacturing base to the African continent.
In 2011, LM Wind Power signed a cooperation agreement with Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to jointly work to establish local manufacturing of blades to reduce costs for wind turbine manufacturers, make wind energy more competitive and provide local jobs. The company now reveals that it 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 factory will be based on LM Wind Power's proven 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.
The South African government has indicated that it wants a wind market of about 5-600MW 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. Local manufacturing will provide more competitive wind energy as well as create new local jobs and knowledge opportunities combined with growth for local industries.