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Business & Technology
Dec 12 2012 12:59PM
 
Coega’s wind boom
GREEN: Mia Bergstrom with the wind measurement mast in Zone 12 of the Coega Industrial Development Zone.
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Sithandiwe Velaphi

Port Elizabeth’s Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) will be home to 20 wind turbines as part of a major investment by Universal Wind, a Swedish-based company, which announced last week it will invest R850m into the initiative.

The company is led by Mia Bergstrom who is both director and shareholder in Universal Wind. Bergstrom is also Coega’s first woman investor.

She visited the Coega IDZ last month to supervise the erection of a wind measuring mast which will collect wind data ahead of the fourth round of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme for wind energy development in South Africa.

Bergstrom said it was a case of “complete coincidence and right timing” that Universal Wind was approached by the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) three years ago.

“At that point we were considering, among other countries, Mexico and Chile as possible places with potential for wind turbines but the Coega proposal came in and we just felt it would be the right fit – so we visited the site and made the decision to install 20 turbines in South Africa,” she said.

“This wind mast is the first fruit of all those discussions and an extensive bid to enter the renewable energy market in South Africa.

“In August we received the decision from the Department of Environmental Affairs and we are now collecting wind data,” said Bergstrom.

Universal Wind’s turbines will generate about 150 gigawatt hours per annum. Each turbine will have an installed capacity of up to 3mw of power.

“Wind turbines are one of the few energy generating devices that you can establish and when taken away in 25 years’ time, won’t have left any mark on the environment,” said Bergstrom.

Coega said it plans to cement the position of its IDZ as the green hub of the Eastern Cape.

“With over 1656 abnormal renewables component loads destined for delivery through the Eastern Cape over a period of 154 days and multiple parties involved, Coega realises the customs, transport and other logistics challenges that this presents,” said Ayanda Vilakazi, Coega’s spokesperson.

Coega has three wind energy projects and one solar energy project in various stages of development. These projects will contribute 200mw to the national grid by 2015.

provinces@thenewage.co.za

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