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2007 South African Award for Entrepreneurial Company to the Oelsner Group

Frost & Sullivan confers the 2007 South African Award for Entrepreneurial Company in the renewable energy (RE) equipment market on the Oelsner Group.
This Award is presented in recognition of the company's efforts in the South African RE equipment market to introduce equipment that are stimulating the local market and its ground-breaking work to reduce red tape barriers.

"The Oelsner Group has succeeded in setting up a financially viable Independent Power Producer (IPP) within South Africa," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Mr. Cornelis van der Waal. "The company has been able to do so despite the continued monopoly of Eskom, which created conditions that do not favour IPP integration into the normal electricity generation and distribution network."

Apart from obtaining IPP licensing, the company has negotiated long-term electricity rates with the nearby city of Cape Town and is also exploring several new projects to improve South Africa's use of renewable energy sources. The Oelsner Group's efforts to include further RE technologies in its repertoire of solutions have resulted in increased RE awareness in the region and are expected to propel the market forward.

Since 1995, the Oelsner Group has invested in excess of R13 Million in R&D of the Darling National Demonstration Wind Farm project. In October this year, the R 70 Million 1st phase of 4x 1,3 MW Fuhrlaender wind turbines will start supplying an average of 13.5 GWh electricity annually to Cape Town on a commercial basis. A 2nd phase with 7,8 MW and a 3rd phase of 13 MW are planned. On the same site, an area covering 20 ha will be set aside for a Visiting, Training and Education Centre. "Currently, the Oelsner Group is investigating alternative renewable energy sources to complement its wind farms," add Mr. Van der Waal. "These could include wave energy projects, as well as large solar projects." One of the proposed sites will be Robben Island, which can, in future, become completely independent from electricity generated through diesel generators. The 770 MW Stellenbosch Wave Converter project is in an advanced stage of development, planned to be erected on a 40 km stretch off the West Coast.

Despite its huge potential, the South African RE equipment market has not experienced significant growth. However, with looming power shortages, investments are poised to increase and local companies would do well to involve themselves in the development of the market. "The development of the market relies on the companies spearheading new initiatives," adds Mr. Van der Waal. "Such initiatives are expected to result in further investments, which will help to create critical mass for the renewable energy equipment market in South Africa and make it sustainable in the long term."

The Oelsner Group has demonstrated that renewable energy projects, apart from being feasible in South Africa, can contribute substantially to the alleviation of power shortages. In the short-to-medium term, while the company is likely to face challenges in the development of increasingly greener energy, the initial steps taken by the Oelsner Group are expected to yield benefits for the company, the environment and ultimately, for society.

The Frost & Sullivan Award for Entrepreneurial Company is presented each year to the small company that demonstrated superior entrepreneurial ability in its industry. This Award signifies the company's identification of a unique and revolutionary product solution with significant market potential. Additionally, the Award certifies that the company's marketing strategy is sound and poised for success.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.

Additional information:
News date: 10/05/2007

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