Altitec, the turbine blade access and repair specialist, recently opened the doors on Altitec South Africa, following last year’s signing of a joint venture with Obelisk, a provider of infrastructure services to the global renewable energy, telecommunications, and power markets. Based in Cape Town, the new company will deliver turbine rotor-blade inspection and repair services across Sub-Saharan Africa, and offer certified training courses to help new technicians enter the industry.
The South African wind-energy market has continued to grow rapidly in recent years and now comprises 19 operational wind farms with a total nameplate capacity of 1.5 GW.
“Wind power has great potential to become a significant part of South Africa’s energy mix,” said Tom Dyffort, managing director of Altitec. “Despite recent delays in signing the Window 4 PPAs, the market is expected to see significant medium- to long-term growth in its installed capacity, and we are therefore investing now in the technical skills and job development needed to match future demand. Equally, and as markets across Sub-Saharan Africa expand, and the number of wind turbines and rotor blades increase, high-quality blade repair and maintenance programs will be key to ensuring this energy source delivers reliably.”
Jobs and Skills
Over the past four years, more than 100,000 jobs have been created by the industry in South Africa alone. Continuing in this vein, Altitec South Africa, under the guidance of Altitec’s London team, will open a second Altitec Academy, offering its certified training courses and looking to attract new turbine blade technicians from across the continent.
“Leading up to the launch of Altitec South Africa, we have developed a strong relationship with Obelisk, benefiting from their experience and understanding of the local market to support our Europe-based turbine blade technicians as they serviced wind-energy contracts for our clients in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Dyffort said. “As the wind industry grows and matures across the region, this work will need to be delivered by local teams. Altitec South Africa will ensure our clients can benefit from local expertise and experience.”
The local entity will take advantage of Obelisk’s experience in the wind-turbine service industry to support three Altitec-trained rotor-blade technician teams, as they start to deliver services directly from their new South African base. The joint venture will allow Altitec to deliver services to clients in the region more efficiently, particularly during the high season for repairs between January and April.
“Since we first started working with Altitec, we have continually been impressed by their knowledge and expertise and their ability to continuously raise the bar for rotor-blade inspection and repair,” said Riccardo Buehler, managing director of Obelisk Energy. “We are excited to further strengthen our relationship with them and together start Altitec South Africa. Altitec’s vast technical expertise on rotor-blade services, combined with the experience of Obelisk in the Sub-Saharan Market, will allow us to provide high quality services to our clients.”
Since 2010, Altitec technicians have provided regular inspections on more than 5,000 blades and 1,500 turbines throughout the U.K., Europe, and key emerging wind markets around the world. The Altitec Academy, first established at Altitec’s headquarters in London, U.K., is an industry-certified program to teach inspection and repair skills to more than 180 new rope-access blade-repair and inspection technicians every year.
For more information, visit http://www.altitec.co.uk