Wind energy gathering momentum, Hopefield farm fully operational

SAWEA, assisted by our PR consultant Jo Reeves and events company Jade Sky, hosted a contingent of media representatives at the Hopefield Wind Farm on 15 May 2014. 

Wind energy is pushing ahead in South Africa, with five wind farms in full operation, another 15 currently under construction and a further seven approaching financial close. By the time they are all up and running, 1 983 MW could be generated by more than 700 turbines, with further development expected down the line, according to the South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea).  Among the most recent developments is the Hopefield wind farm, in the Western Cape, which got under way in February. It is now fully operational and supplying electricity to the national grid.

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Municipal reliance on electricity tariffs ‘impedes growth of small-scale generation’

MUNICIPALITIES’ reliance on electricity tariffs for much of their revenue is holding back the expansion of small-scale energy production, Western Cape climate change and biodiversity director Helen Davies said on Monday.

The province, which aims to be South Africa’s lowest carbon-emitting province per capita, is scoping research into other ways for municipalities to generate revenue, she said.

Ms Davies was responding to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) plea to the world to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, related to climate change, from electricity production.

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There is light at the end of the renewable power tunnel

JUDGING by comments at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi recently, and recent statements by the South African Wind Energy Association, investment in the renewable energy sector is declining in Africa in general and in South Africa in particular. Evidence, however, indicates that far from experiencing a "rolling blackout", such investments face a clean, well-lit future.

A number of considerations support this. First, Africa is experiencing a remarkable growth surge that will require substantial infrastructure investments. Second, there is time pressure to roll out new power generation to address a rapidly declining reserve capacity in South Africa. Third is the increasing cost burden of carbon emissions; and finally, there is the opportunity to align fixed investment — such as renewable energy projects that provide tangible social and developmental advantages — with local procurement policies, skills training and employment for the rapidly growing population both in the rural and urban areas.

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