South Africa’s wind fleet grows to 294 turbines, association targets 2 500 by 2020
South Africa has increased its installed base of wind turbines from eight in 2012 to 294 currently, and the South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea) is advocating that 2 500 turbines be installed by 2020 to lower the risk of load-shedding, increase private generation and diversify the country’s coal-dominant electricity mix.
In a short film titled ‘Seven amazing facts about wind power in South Africa’ released to mark the seventh year that Sawea was commemorating Global Wind Day, the association outlined the technology’s socioeconomic and price advantages.
In an associated statement, CEO Johan van den Berg also noted that all the turbines had been “built with private money”, with R55-billion invested over the past three years in projects procured under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
Wind and solar photovoltaic projects had emerged as the dominant technologies deployed across the 92 renewables projects procured to date through the REIPPPP. Collectively these had resulted in investment commitments of R193-billion following four bid windows.
Besides the growth in the onshore wind fleet and the associated investments, Sawea also highlighted the ongoing fall in wind tariffs (to around 62c/kWh in the last bid window), with the most recent prices bid said to be 40% cheaper per electricity unit than those associated with the Medupi coal-fired power station, which was still being constructed.
“Wind power in 2014 saved more money than it cost: it was cash positive by R300-million (that's cash benefit for Eskom directly) and it avoided R800-million worth of unserved energy,” Van den Berg asserted, calculating that wind energy enabled South Africa to avoid 117 hours of load-shedding last year.
Also stressed in its statement, and the associated video clip, was the R7-billion already allocated by wind developers to socioeconomic development projects and the 19 414 person-year jobs created in the construction and operation of the wind farms built over the past three years.
The Global Wind Energy Council, meanwhile, used the day to emphasise that wind energy had become “mainstream” and was one of the fastest growing industrial sectors in the world, attracting $100-billion in investment in 2014.
It also argued that wind’s falling costs had resulted in more corporates adopting the technology to power their “factories, operations and data centres”.
“As businesses become increasingly aware of the progress in technology and falling costs we are seeing a rapid change in investment patterns," Global Wind Energy Council secretary-general Steve Sawyer said.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter