Clean energy blows through Ngqura’s green gateway

Wind turbine blades at the Port of Ngqura before being transported to wind farms around the country where they are assembled on site
POWERING UP: Wind turbine blades at the Port of Ngqura before being transported to wind farms around the country where they are assembled on site
Image: Supplied

The Port of Ngqura has established itself as the gateway for the development of green energy in SA at a time when the sector is beginning to pick up speed.

Port of Ngqura corporate affairs manager Sakhiwo Tetyana said on Thursday the port’s green status accreditation had been pivotal in gaining the business.

“As the only port with a green status in the Southern African port system, the Transnet National Ports Authority Port of Ngqura has now established itself as the ideal partner in bringing green energy to our nation.

“It has provided a safe gateway, temporary storage and an accessible distribution point for wind turbine components imported from Spain since 2012.”

Green status for a port meant it was subjected to environmental legislation during its entire development, from preconstruction through construction and operation and in planning future development, he said.

“The wind turbine components, including wind turbine tower parts and blades, are destined for various wind farms across the country.

“They include the Golden Valley Wind Farm near Bedford and the Nxuba Wind Farm near Cookhouse, both in the Eastern Cape, and the Roggeveld Wind Farm in the Karoo, spanning the Northern and Western Cape.”

The port had been a major player since the department of energy eight years ago approved these and other wind energy projects, most of them in the Eastern Cape, as part of the Independent Power Producer process, Tetyana said.

Ngqura new business development manager Nozipho Booi said the port was well positioned to accommodate this special projects cargo at its finger jetty, which could accommodate vessels on both sides.

“It also has a dedicated laydown area of 80,000 m² to store these massive components.

“The port’s ideal location and accessibility to the national freeway  makes road-haulage of the components to destination easier, compared to a city-locked port.

“The surrounding infrastructure linking the port to the hinterland is also ideal — no restrictive bridges and the road can handle the abnormal cargo size and weight,” Booi said.

 

Components for wind farms await transport from the Port of Ngqura
READY TO ROLL: Components for wind farms await transport from the Port of Ngqura
Image: supplied

Ngqura port manager Tandi Lebakeng said almost 50,000 metric tons of wind turbine cargo had been imported in the 2019/2020 financial year alone.

“That business fits perfectly into the port’s revenue diversification strategy of avoiding over-reliance on a single revenue stream,” she said.

Tetyana said Ngqura’s other main cargo sectors included containers, most of them carrying motor vehicle manufacturing parts en route to Volkswagen in Uitenhage and Mercedes-Benz in East London, fruit — and dry bulk like manganese and clinker.

“An audit is under way and when it is completed it will be possible to break down the revenue generated by the different cargo sectors.”

He said wind farm cargo importation had gone through a lull but had begun accelerating after the April 2018 agreement between SA’s national energy department and independent power producers.

A R56bn agreement was reached involving 27 independent energy producers and aimed at delivering 2,300 megawatts to the national power grid.

“The turbine components business has definitely picked up speed since then,” Tetyana said.

 

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