South Africa - Flooring company turns to wind power

“The type we envisage using are not available in this country.”

A pioneering wind energy plant is on the horizon as a Buffalo City company launches a project to harvest the Eastern Cape‘s famous breeze to generate energy. Vinyl Flooring in Wilsonia, East London is also looking at the possibility of providing its surplus requirements to Buffalo City at large.

The company is exploring the viability of the idea through powering some of its offices using energy generated through the wind. Executive director Clive Garner said: “The pilot project is not for the plant, but for offices with computers, printers and copiers. “We are committed to the project, but we need to verify data before we do anything more. “We are collecting data on the average wind speed and the types of units we will need in order to run the full factory.”

The pilot programme, which is expected to last for about three months, is one of two phases of the project. The second phase, Garner says, will involved full implementation. With the factory positioned on a hill, there is virtually always a breeze to power windmills. “If there is excess energy, the company would be glad to put the power into the national grid for the Buffalo City municipality.”

And now, with Eskom‘s recent announcement that it has asked the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) to increase electricity tariffs by 53%, Garner said the company would try to accelerate the project. “The effect on industry and the consumer would be extensive, and our fast tracking of the programme would be justified.” Phase2, he said, would depend on the availability of wind generating units overseas. “The type we envisage using are not available in this country.”

The company envisages one big windmill and two smaller ones. The plant currently uses about 3000 kilovolt-amperes at any given moment, and the desired units could easily produce about 50000kV.A. “It‘s all about being efficient. Energy is a critical resource in the whole world. Safic chief executive Fred Plaat said initial studies showed that the plant would require wind with a velocity of three metres a second.

Online editorial www.windfair.net
Edited by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
wind energy, wind farm, renewable energy, wind power, wind turbine, rotorblade, offshore, onshore

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