Zest WEG has entered South Africa’s wind energy industry, combining exciting turbine technology with its established footprint in the local economy.
The development of a direct drive, gearless wind turbine by its parent company WEG is a key factor in Zest WEG’s plan to grow a client base among wind farm developers, says Alastair Gerrard, integrated solutions executive at Zest WEG.
“With WEG’s latest 4,2 MW wind turbine solution – which augments its initial offering of a 2,1 MW unit – we see considerable scope for broadening our technology offering locally and into the rest of Africa,” he says.
With four decades as a local supplier, manufacturer and service provider in South Africa, he says Zest WEG has extensive market presence and knowledge upon which to build. In particular, the company is well-placed to meet the local content requirements for participating in the wind energy segment.
“We have prepared the ground for developing local skills and supply chains in our contribution to wind energy projects,” Gerrard says. “Given our experience in South Africa, our products and solutions also meet the necessary regulations and standards, including grid code compliance, which is vital for projects that will feed power to the national utility.”
The positive take-up of the WEG wind turbine – mainly in South America – is reflected by the 647 MW of capacity that has contributed to the market in recent years; another 181 MW is in the pipeline. He highlights that having no gearbox in the turbine offered a number of benefits.
“There is increased efficiency, less noise and weight, and one less component means less maintenance,” he says. “The whole design is focused on efficiency and reliability, for maximum output and uptime.”
The WEG turbine also includes the transformer in the nacelle, rather than at the tower base. This transformer steps up the 925 volts generated by the alternator to 33 kV, reducing losses through more efficient energy transmission. There is also then no need for a separate transformer and its associated infrastructure at ground level.
“We are looking forward to leveraging WEG’s tried-and-tested turbine technology from Brazil, from our established foundation as a well-recognized local player,” Gerrard concludes.