With the release of the South African Renewable Energy Grid Survey in June this year, it is clear that the future of wind power production will be outside of the country’s windy provinces. The market intelligence clearly indicates that by 2027 and beyond, new wind power generation projects will become concentrated in grid-rich areas, with KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga emerging as important wind jurisdictions, within the next five years.

We now have clear data that shows a stable and constant growth in wind projects being developed in South Africa, which is vital for Original Equipment Manufacturers, such as ourselves, as well as investors, both local and global. Whilst developments are initially located predominantly in the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape provinces, the market is following a natural evolution, shifting away from the best locations in terms of efficiency, offering low hanging fruits in terms of resources. With the land, or in our case grid constraints, developments are clearly shifting to areas that need different wind technology solutions.” – Compton Saunders, Managing Director of Nordex Energy South Africa.

Mpumalanga has capacity available and is expected to have even more as coal generation facilities reach the end of their lifetime, resulting in decommissioning that will free up grid capacity in this thermal-power region.


“This changing energy landscape, which is defined by the accelerated uptake of renewable energy for the foreseeable future, requires technology that delivers increased power capacity. This follows global trends, which demonstrates that as markets have matured, wind turbine generators with augmented unitary power are required, to not only deliver better output but relative improved cost.” – Compton Saunders.

In preparation to meet market needs, Nordex Energy South Africa has introduced newer generation technology offering an increase in unitary power, which means improved cost of energy, as well as a reduction in land usage and visual impact.

The Delta 4000 platform incorporates products with a power capacity starting from 4.5MW to 6MW+ with the N163/6X, which is significantly higher than the previous AW platform that had a range of power from 3MW to 3.4MW. Furthermore, because the platform incorporates different products that share certain sub-components between them, the standardisation eases the Operations and Maintenance of those wind turbines.


In addition to a more powerful generating platform, taller towers are necessary, to capture better wind conditions at higher altitudes, known as wind shear. At greater heights above the ground, wind can flow more freely, with less friction from obstacles on the earth’s surface.

To-date, most wind turbine towers in South Africa have been about 100 meters tall, but as we shift into new regions, higher wind shear will need to be accessed.

A recent solution, designed for a Private-Offtake project in Mpumalanga, presented a 168m hybrid tower, the first offered in South Africa.

The specific case considered concrete sections (around 100m) manufactured locally in the region, and steel sections (around 68m) manufactured overseas and imported to South Africa. Alternatively, the steel sections could be manufactured locally.

Concrete tower technology has been proven as a good fit in South Africa, as it is manpower intensive during the manufacturing process, and the manufacturing facilities are relatively easy to re-allocate.

Training & Services

The company’s core local construction operations team have been extensively trained in Spain on Nordex’s updated wind turbine technology, in preparation for the exponential growth of South Africa’s wind sector, which will require robust construction expertise.


GECAMA is the largest wind farm in Spain, owned by Enlight Renewable Energy (NASDAQ: ENLT, TASE: ENLT), occupying an area of approximately 8,000 ha. It has a total installed power of almost 330MWs (329) MW and power export capacity of 300 MW at the grid supply point. The farm has 69 turbines N149-4.x-TC120 each one with a power output of 4.8 MW.

Enlight is currently in the process of procuring new infrastructure, which will build a 250MW PV facility, plus 200MWh batteries capacity. Expected to be completed in 2024, once operative it will be one of Europe’s largest hybrid energy facilities.

Looking inward, we know that South Africa can expect similar co-location projects in the near future. By pairing wind and solar power plants, a single transmission connection point can be used, to provide Eskom with increased uptake of power at a particular point.

We can expect that existing wind farms, most likely in the Cape region, will see existing wind farms build PV facilities at the same site, without any extra requirement or differentiation in the wind technology value proposition.

It has been proven in global energy markets that co-location of wind, solar PV and energy storage technologies offer more stable, predictable and dispatchable power output, the option of shared grid connections makes sense in the efforts to optimise the current grid infrastructure.

“Hybridization of facilities brings extra value in terms of grid utilization. It is especially remarkable when the generation of both wind and solar PV technologies are complementary, and the combined curve matches the power demand. Our global counterparts have experience for us to draw-on, and we will do so in new South Africa regions if this bring value to our customers.” – David Moncasi Hortet, Nordex Energy South Africa, Head of Sales, Africa.

Case studies in the country show that the generation peak hours of the wind facility are early in the morning and late evening time, which combined with the solar hour’s generation curve of solar facilities bring an overall curve matching quite well with the demand.


Currently, 85% – 95% of a Nordex Wind Turbine Generator is already recyclable. For many of the materials used, there are established recycling processes for environmentally-friendly disposal, especially for steel and concrete, which make up the largest share of a wind turbine in the tower and foundation.

Turbine rotor blades consist of a combination of different materials such as wood, various metals, adhesives, paints, and composites. The composites are glass-fiber-reinforced plastics, as well as carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics. At the end of their life, rotor blades are more challenging to recycle due to the heterogeneity of the material and the strong adhesion between the fibers and polymers. Recycling processes for these materials are not yet fully established, and the reuse of recycled materials is not widespread.

The Nordex Group has already reduced the carbon footprint of its wind turbines and in line with its Sustainability Strategy 2025, ambitious goals have been set, including offering the market a fully recyclable blade by 2032.


The Nordex Group was the first company to launch a turbine platform with a flexible rating as part of its core design philosophy and operation strategy. This design approach, combined with a variety of operating modes, enables the turbine to adapt to the grid operator’s individual requirements and local wind conditions.

This also means it’s possible to optimise the overall yield of a wind farm by means of the different maximum output of individual turbines, thus always exploiting the full potential of each turbine position within each single wind farm.

The technical concept of the Delta 4000 series minimises service requirements over the entire service life of the turbine. Each component was rigorously designed to ensure lower maintenance effort, in addition to a mobile crane solution, which the models of this product series provide.