Wind turbine blade access and repair specialist Altitec has announced it has opened the doors on Altitec South Africa, following the signing of a joint venture with Obelisk last year.
Obelisk is a provider of infrastructure services to the global renewable energy, telecommunications and power markets. The new company, Altitec South Africa, is based in Cape Town, from where it will deliver turbine rotor blade inspection and repair services across Sub-Saharan Africa, and offer certified training courses to help new technicians enter the industry.
The South African wind energy market has continued to grow rapidly in recent years and now comprises 19 operational wind farms with a total nameplate capacity of 1.5GW.
“Wind power has great potential to become a significant part of South Africa’s energy mix” said Tom Dyffort, Managing Director, Altitec. “Despite recent delays in signing the Window 4 PPAs, the market is expected to see significant medium- to long-term growth in its installed capacity, and we are therefore investing now in the technical skills and job development needed to match future demand. Equally, and as markets across Sub-Saharan Africa expand, and the number of wind turbines and rotor blades increase, high quality blade repair and maintenance programmes will be key to ensuring this energy source delivers reliably.”
Over the past 4 years, more than 100,000 jobs have been created by the wind industry in South Africa alone. Altitec South Africa, under the guidance of Altitec’s London team, is intending to open a second Altitec Academy, offering its certified training courses and looking to attract new turbine blade technicians from across the continent.
Tom Dyffort added that leading up to the launch of Altitec South Africa, the company has developed a strong relationship with Obelisk, benefiting from that company’s experience and understanding of the local market in order to support Altitec’s Europe-based turbine blade technicians as they serviced wind energy contracts for the company’s clients in Sub-Saharan Africa. As the wind industry grows and matures across the region, this work will need to be delivered by local teams. Altitec South Africa will ensure that the company’s clients in the region can benefit from local expertise and experience.
Obelisk’s experience in the wind turbine service industry will help to support three Altitec-trained rotor blade technician teams, as they start to deliver services directly from the new South African base. The joint venture will allow Altitec to deliver services to clients in the region more efficiently, particularly during the high season for repairs between January and April.
Since 2010, Altitec technicians have provided regular inspections on more than 5,000 blades and 1,500 turbines throughout the UK, Europe and key emerging wind markets around the world. The Altitec Academy, first established at Altitec’s headquarters in London, UK, is an industry-certified programme to teach inspection and repair skills to more than 180 new rope access blade repair and inspection technicians every year.
Altitec South Africa is currently attending the Windaba conference in Cape Town on 14th and 15th November.