Construction of GRI Wind Steel South Africa’s new 12 000 m² wind tower mast production facility in the Green Technology Industrial Park in Atlantis has commenced. It is hoped that this facility will be completed in October 2014.
GRI Wind Steel South Africa’s factory will have a manufacturing capacity of 150 three-section wind towers per year. Tower sections of up to 90 tons, 38 metres in length and five metres in diameter, can be accommodated in the new facility. Completed tower section storage will also be available on the site, with permanently installed logistic machinery to move and load the sections.
This state-of-the-art facility will make use of the latest energy saving technologies designed to fully exploit the benefits of natural lighting and ventilation.
This R300 million investment from Gestamp Renewable Industries’ (GRI) is the first to be attracted through the City’s recently established Investment Incentive Scheme. GRI is a Spanish company with a 100% shareholding in GRI Wind Steel South Africa. GRI currently produces 1,200 wind towers per year in four factories around the world.
Councillor Johan van der Merwe, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning, said, “We are very excited about this investment which has been made possible by our pilot scheme in Atlantis. Atlantis is an area of great strategic importance as it is characterised by extremely high unemployment. Partnerships are the only way to drive much-needed job creation in Atlantis and indeed city-wide. It is the only way that we will be able to make progress possible, together.”
GRI has made use of the various incentives that form part of the overall scheme, including land-use and building application fast-tracking. They also purchased land, 7.8ha in size, from the City in the Green Technology Industrial Park in Atlantis, which is part of a quick access-to-land programme for industries operating in the green economy.
“During the operational phase, more than 200 jobs will be created of which approximately 150 to 180 employees will be from Atlantis and the surrounding area. The contractor is working with the local Further Education and Training College to identify and develop skills that will be needed for the operation of the factory.”
“The success of the pilot project in Atlantis to date gives us great hope that this scheme could be rolled out to other areas in the metro,” said Councillor van der Merwe.
In addition, during the first six months of the existence of the scheme, which was approved by Council last year, the strong uptake of the electricity tariff subsidy incentive in particular contributed to the retention of more than 1,200 jobs.
The uptake of the electricity tariff subsidy for intensive energy users has been in excess of R3.8 million thus far. It has enabled businesses to ride out the economically tough times without having to lay off staff.
GRI Wind Steel South Africa (www.gri.com.es) is a division of the wind industrial division of Corporación Gestamp. The group, through its wind subsidiary, is constructing a wind farm of 75 MW located in the Karoo area on the farm Noblesfontein (Victoria West), with an approximate investment of 160 million euros. Gestamp Wind is also hoping to be awarded with another wind project of 100,8 MW submitted in the Round 3 of the REIPP public tender process.