Rope access blade repair and inspection specialist Altitec has signed a joint venture agreement with Obelisk enabling the two companies to deliver a range of wind turbine blade and tower services.
The five-year JV covers services to wind farm owners, operators and original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) operating in the South African market, which has grown rapidly in recent years with 15 new wind farms totaling 1,200 MW constructed in the last three years. The South African government has also committed to procuring energy from another 19 wind farms totaling 2,000 MW to help address longstandign electricity shortages.
This rapid growth has created a demand for repair, inspection and maintenance services covering approximately 4,000 operational blades. This will enable the turbines to perform as expected, providing a base of regional expertise in the South African wind sector and minimising wind farm downtime. As part of the joint venture, Altitec is working alongside Obelisk, a company specialising in the provision of infrastructure services to global renewable energy, telecommunications and power markets. The two companies will provide high quality, regionally specific blade and tower services while also training new South African rope access technicians to international standards.
These core certified services will include rotor-based inspections, composite blade repairs, cleaning and monitoring of equipment and wind turbine tower corrosion protection and repair. Currently, the partnership has seen the creation and development of four dedicated teams of technicians that work directly with wider project management personnel on the ground.
“As key emerging markets move from early stage planning and development and into the commissioning stage, it’s critical that prospective wind power projects remain on track and stay within budget” said Tom Dyffort, Managing Director, Altitec. “However, while the planning theory stacks up, the operational reality of working within new territories can quickly create unforeseen challenges. Moreover, with many European manufacturers keen to safeguard and protect their equipment during the critical transport and commissioning stage, it’s essential that those technicians working with the equipment on the ground can provide absolute confidence and assurance.”
Mr Dyffort added that Obelisk has a very strong track record in delivering quality services to the wind industry in South Africa.
Under the terms of the agreement, Obelisk and Altitec will work to Germanischer Lloyd certification standards, training local technicians to help develop an established regional workforce for long-term operations and maintenance.
Since 2010, Altitec technicians have inspected over 2,000 blades, 660 turbines, throughout the UK, Europe and within key emerging markets further afield. The firm provides a full range of blade inspection, repair and maintenance services, as well as an established, industry certified training programme, known as The Altitec Academy which trains over 180 rope access blade repair and inspection technicians every year.