Browne describes the substation market as the most competitive he has ever experienced. “South African projects attract between 12 and 15 bidders, which was unheard of a few years ago. It has become exceptionally difficult to win a job, and pricing is crucial.”
The African market displays similar trends. Recently in Rwanda, for example, Powertech QuadPro was up against 17 bidders, many of them from Europe and Asia. “That tells me there is no work in Europe,” Browne says.
The company’s winning bid entails delivery of a 132/11 kV substation for Eskom’s Sere wind farm project near Vredendal in the Western Cape. The 100 MW Sere wind farm is situated on a 7,400 ha site close to Vredendal, a region in South Africa with an attractive wind resource. The wind farm is funded by the World Bank, the African Development Bank, French development agency, Agence Française de Développement, and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF).
The project will cost R2.4 billion and is expected to be in full commercial operation by the end of 2014. It is expected to create about 170 direct jobs during construction, together with up to 2,100 indirect and/or induced jobs. Approximately 10 people will be permanently employed once the plant is fully operational.
The 46 Siemens wind turbines that will make up Sere is expected to generate about 233,000 MWh of electricity per year, enough to power 97,000 homes.