South Africa Sees Wind Power Future

South Africa, host country of the World Wind Energy Conference & Renewable Energy Exhibition, has made the first concrete steps toward a sustainable energy supply with wind power contributing substantially.

Cape Town, South Africa – April 16, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] A White Paper for Renewable Energy includes clear targets and a baseline study has revealed the country’s enormous wind energy potential. The government has also published a brochure encouraging Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers to invest in South Africa. In February 2003 the South African Department of Minerals and Energy, in collaboration with Danish Co-operation for Environment and Development, released a “Baseline Study on Wind Energy in SA.” The study reveals a hub of wind energy activity in the country, all of which point to wind energy being a definite feature of the country’s future energy mix. Overall, the report indicates that there is a growing trend of wind energy use, as indicated by the large number of research and demonstration activities and the fact that several new wind power projects are in the planning stage. There is a small emerging market for green electricity, and the market for farm windmills is well established. The study documents the present use of different wind energy technologies and the level of involvement of industry and skills, painting a favorable picture of capacity. At present there are five grid-connected test facilities and five mini-grid ones, mainly at the feasibility stage but with a few already at the implementation stage. There are four off-grid power-generating projects, mainly involved in manufacturing wind energy technologies. Altogether this makes the current exploited wind energy in South Africa 16,000 kW with an estimated annual production of 32,000 MWh. The various wind energy projects are investigating the technological appropriateness of wind technologies to local conditions, and in the process are also preparing the market and the energy industry for Renewable Energy implementation. One such success story is SA’s first-ever Power Purchase Agreement that was signed between Darling Independent Power Producer and the City of Cape Town in December 2002. The government has officially recognized the Darling wind farm as a national demonstration project. There are other promising signs for wind in SA. A recently released wind map of the country indicates that the country has an abundance of wind resources – theoretically the potential for wind energy harvesting is 26,000 GWh annually. In addition SA is a unique developing country that has industrialized world technical skills and infrastructure that provide competitive economic conditions for the development of wind energy. In its White Paper on Energy Policy, published in 1998, DME indicated its intention to promote RE via a Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (IPP) to begin in 2004. Access to finance for IPPs will become available. SA has also ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) signalling an intention to move away from its current heavy reliance on coal. The forthcoming conference will cover many of the issues raised by this report. For more information contact SBS Conferences, Erika Schutze, +27 (21) 914-2888 or email Erika@sbs.co.za
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