Zest Energy, part of the Zest Weg Group, is experiencing robust growth across the African continent in three key energy generation arenas: power generation, substations and co-generation. “Although our company started out with an initial focus on power generation, we soon recognised that every power plant needs infrastructure and out of this necessity the other two segments have emerged,” says Zest Energy managing director, Coenraad Vrey. “Being part of the Weg Group has given us invaluable access to equipment, services and technology, as well as the group’s decades of international experience in substation and infrastructure projects, notably in developing regions like South America.
“The solutions we have been proposing to customers are therefore comprehensive, innovative and cost effective and have placed us in a leading position in southern Africa. Our differentiator is being able to supply total integrated solutions specific to power and infrastructure.
“The power plants we build are fit-for-purpose which means we do not have specific agreements with OEMs, instead we utilise the equipment that will provide a unique solution for each customer. We understand the significant capital cost requirement involved in building a power station and the Zest Energy team’s depth of engineering experience on power plants enables us to specify the most appropriate equipment for each application.
“Most of our work is currently taking place outside of South Africa, with many of these projects in remote areas, so the systems we are familiar with installing are multi-functional, with standby units that assist with voltage stability and protect against equipment and production loss in the event of a power interruption.”
Zest Energy is presently working on a generator upgrade contract awarded by Barrick Gold at its Bulyanhulu operations in Tanzania. Scheduled for completion in September 2012, this contract was awarded amid tough competition and involves the supply of a bank of six 2 MW Caterpillar containerised generator sets. This equipment is being integrated into the existing network of 20 generators of various sizes already in operation on the mine and Vrey comments that the challenge was to integrate the off the shelf, standard generators with the existing plant infrastructure, which often has limited functionality. To provide local support and in line with local government requirements, Zest Energy is exploring the opportunity of establishing a dedicated office in Tanzania.
The company has also just completed another generator upgrade project at Lonmin’s Western Platinum refinery in the Brakpan area. The project involved upgrading the existing 2 MVA prime power generators with two new 2,2 MVA power generators that run in parallel when it is necessary to support power supply to the refinery.
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