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Suzlon May Set Up South African Wind-Turbine Equipment Plant

Suzlon Energy Ltd., India’s biggest wind-turbine maker, may build a plant to make equipment for turbines in South Africa, where it is seeking to expand.

The company is studying potential sites in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, Silas Zimu, chief executive officer of Suzlon’s South African business, said in an interview by phone from Johannesburg. A team will evaluate the sites next week, he said, without disclosing the investment amount for the plant.

The company plans to make towers and blades for wind turbines in South Africa, he said. The manufacturing plant would need to produce about 400 megawatts worth of equipment a year to justify the investment, Zimu said yesterday.

South Africa is trying to reduce reliance on fossil fuels while expanding power capacity. Most of its electricity is generated from coal by state-owned Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which said in November the gap between electricity supply and demand is “tight.”

The country on Aug. 3 issued a request for proposals by companies interested in building renewable energy plants with a combined capacity of 3,725 megawatts by the end of 2016. Suzlon was included in the preferred bidders appointed in December, for its proposed 135-megawatt Cookhouse wind farm.

Suzlon, based in Pune, India, hopes to get a power-purchase agreement for the wind project in March or April, Zimu said. That will allow for work at the project to start.

Suzlon in May signed a contract with African Clean Energy Developments Pty. to supply and construct the turbines.

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