A partnership between French hydroturbine designer and manufacturer Hydro Power Plant (HPP) and Boksburg-based mechanical engineering company Wright Dixon Engineering will result in a substantial amount of hydropower equipment being manufactured in South Africa.
The two companies have teamed up to design, manufacture and deliver ten hydropower turbines to Randgold Resources, in Kibali, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The hydropower plant, which is set for commissioning in 2016, will be developed in four stages. Stage one comprises the refurbishment of an 800 kVA hydropower plant; stage two, the supply and installation of four new Francis double turbines, with an output of 25 MVA; stage three, the supply and installation of four Kaplan turbines, with an output of 22 MVA; and stage four, the supply and installation of two Kaplan turbines, with an output of 10 MVA.
HPP decided to manufacture as much as possible in South Africa to reduce costs that would have been incurred for sea transport and higher labour rates by Randgold Resources and to stimulate the South African economy.
“We allowed all of the big parts to be manufactured in South Africa but, to ensure our HPP expertise, we manufactured the sensitive parts in France and the generators are manufactured in Brazil,” explained HPP export manager Pierre Pisterman.
These turbines are the first to be built in this manner in South Africa’s small hydropower sector. It marks the beginning of more hydropower projects, as HPP has also been awarded a 10 MW project in the North West and expects more to come.
Pisterman says the industrial model used for the Randgold Resources project is innovative because of the manufacturing being divided among France, South Africa and Brazil.