Nordex wind turbines for wind energy in South Africa

The Nordex Group has been present in the up-and-coming South African market since 2010, and is now the proud market leader, with a 32 per cent share of the total installed wind power capacity in the region. As part of this, the Group boasts an impressive total installed capacity of 711 MW, with a further 399 MW under construction (December, 2020)

In terms of the Nordex Group’s geographical footprint in South Africa, there are six large-scale wind farms currently in operation – five located in the country’s Eastern Cape, and one in the Western Cape – all of which comprise an impressive installed capacity of between 80 and 148 MW. There are also an additional three wind farms under construction across the Northern and Eastern Capes, two of which are comprised of >140 MW each. The headquarters of the South African branch, which trades as Nordex Energy South Africa Ltd., can be found in one of the country’s capitals, Cape Town. Between this office location and the company’s construction sites, there are more than 200 Nordex colleagues working as part of the Nordex Group team.

The South African Market

In terms of the energy market purchasing structure, South Africa is based upon an auction program: the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) Program. This program has been in effect since 2011 and relates only to energy generated through wind and solar PV. As of 2020, 4 bid rounds of the REIPPP Program have been conducted. It has purchased wind energy generation for a contracted capacity of 3.4 GW. Also last year, it was concluded that there was a new public determination to purchase wind energy to a capacity of 4.8 GW over the following years.

The REIPPP purchasing program defines a mechanism of evaluation where the price of power generation represents 70 percent of the score, and the remaining 30 percent comes from the Social and Economic Development Obligations (SEDO) committed by bidders along with the whole chain of subcontractors involved in the bidding projects.

Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment

The Nordex Group also believes that Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) initiatives are a vital component of the broader transformation imperative in South Africa and therefore, the integration of related compliance is key to driving positive change within the industry. The company is committed to principles of transformation and undertakes processes that are both sustainable and result in true grassroots impact. The Group will focus specifically on improving three BBBEE elements, namely skills development, enterprise and supplier development, and socio-economic development.

The outlook for wind power in South Africa

Since its founding, the South African branch, along with its dedicated team of colleagues throughout the country, has worked hard to promote wind energy across the region. In the South African energy market itself, coal is still the most widely utilised power generation source, making up 41.7 GW of the country’s total 57 GW of power generation capacity in 2018. In the same year, wind trailed far behind at 2.1 GW of the same total. But things are improving. The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP, 2010 – 2030), which is responsible for the long-term planning of electricity generation and infrastructure in the country, has set a target to increase the overall generation of energy through renewable means, from 11 percent to approximately 41 percent by 2030 – which in real terms equates to 17,700 MW of wind energy generation facilities – all the while, reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels from the current 80 percent to around 51 percent by the same year. And all of this positive development and promotion of renewable energies, along with the company’s leading position in the market, means that the Nordex Group is perfectly placed to take positive advantage of these changes within the coming years, in particular with the technological contribution of the Nordex Group’s Delta4000 series product range.

The Group has installed more than 29 GW of wind energy capacity in over 40 markets and in 2019 generated revenues of EUR 3.3 billion. The company currently employs a workforce of approx. 7,900. The joint manufacturing capacity includes factories in Germany, Spain, Brazil, the United States, India, Argentina and Mexico. The product portfolio is focused on onshore turbines in the 2.4 to 5.X MW class, which are tailor-made for the market requirements in countries with limited space and regions with limited grid capacity.