ACTOM Power Transformers (APT) is currently increasing the production capacity of its Wadeville, Germiston, plant, mainly to meet the substantial upsurge in demand expected from South Africa’s rapidly growing renewable energy generation sector.
APT has identified IPP renewables as a growing market segment with Rounds 5 and 6 of the REIPPPP gathering momentum and recent legislative changes around power generation by the private sector driving further demand for power transformers.
Round 6 which is targeted to generate a total of 4200MW of power, received a total of 33 PV Solar and 23 Wind generation bids, totalling 9600MW’s. The projects in this round are also substantially larger than those of previous rounds due to the relaxation of cap limitations.
“All these new public and private sector projects add up to greatly increased demand for electrical infrastructural equipment with ACTOM’s Transmission & Distribution divisions being in a strong position to supply ‘balance of plant’ equipment,” said Steve Jordaan, Power Transformers’ Divisional CEO.
In conjunction with its Switzerland-based transformer design partner, APT successfully developed a full range of inverter transformers for both wind and solar inverter applications and recently expanded the size range up to 12MVA. “This is in line with the larger capacity projects that are being introduced in Round 6 compared with the earlier rounds of the national renewables programme, along with the larger-sized individual wind and solar generator units that are being brought into play in the latest round,” Steve remarked.
“This application requires specific design criteria for the step-up transformers to mitigate the effects of harmonics and dynamic response characteristics of the inverters,” Steve explained.
Under REIPPPP round 4.5, 109 X 2.7MVA 0.69/33kV inverter transformers were supplied to the Perdekraal and Kangnas wind farm projects. “These have proven to be efficient and completely ‘gas free’, which places APT at the forefront among local manufacturers of inverter transformers for renewable energy generation projects,” Steve stated.
“Furthermore, APT offers the solution of combining the low voltage and medium voltage switchgear with the step-up inverter transformers in a skid-mount or containerised configuration, which is generally preferred by Developers and EPC’s. This greatly simplifies the installation of the equipment and mitigates interconnecting cable faults on site,” he commented.
The plant expansion caters for the skid-mount/containerised products as well as the larger inverter transformers up to 12MVA and increases the division’s production capacity by more than 40% per annum. The expansion, which includes the installation of a second vapour phase oven, additional vertical and horizontal winding machines, two additional assembly stations as well as a state-of-the-art air cushion system, is due for completion by the end of March next year.