February 2016

South Africa’s wind energy sector is already supplying more than half a million households

Wind energy sector passes 1 gigawatt (GW) milestone with over 3GW already in pipeline

Wind energy’s success story continues into 2016 with the news that over 1 gigawatt (GW) of power is already feeding much needed electricity into the country’s grid. This figure equates to the supply of 511,000 household’s average energy consumption*.

Johan van den Berg, CEO at the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) is enthusiastic about the milestone and promises there is much more to come. “Wind energy is still a relatively new industry in South Africa and what we have achieved in such a short time is a sure indication of how much more we can do. In 2011 there were just 10 turbines in the country – now we have 13 large wind farms in operation, consisting of over 495 turbines, with many more under construction. More than 3 GW of wind energy has already been allocated through the Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer’s Programme (REIPPPP) – and more is due to be announced shortly.”

Benefits to communities

As well as supplying non-polluting sustainable energy to the country, the REIPPPP criteria ensures that developers of renewable energy projects allocate funds to the sustainable development of nearby communities. So far ZAR 91.1 billion has been committed to development initiatives through the programme. This number will increase as more projects are procured – dates and allocations for bid Window 5 are due to be announced by the Government imminently.

Water saving

As water shortages continue to plague the country, it’s also important to know that renewable energy saves water: each kilowatt hour of renewable energy that displaces fossil fuels in the national grid, 1.2 litres of water will be saved. At full operation of the entire portfolio the programme will save 52 million litres of water each year, equal to 371 428 standard sized bathtubs.

Towards 100% renewables

This year’s theme for SAWEA’s annual conference ‘Windaba’ is ‘Towards 100% Renewables’ and van den Berg believes this is a realistic 2050 ambition: “In South Africa we have the abundant natural resources – sun and wind – for renewables to thrive, wind power is now about 40% cheaper than new coal power produced by Eskom. The extraordinary growth in procured capacity from 10 MW to 3300 MW has taken place in just four years. The rapid increase in Government’s renewables ambitions reflects not just the proven success of the programme but the economic reality that wind has become a no-brainer.  It is four to six times quicker to construct than conventional energy and infinitely safer. It’s modular and can better use existing grid capacity. It’s all built with private money and saves Government billions for the new build programme.”  



Editor’s notes:

For further information, please contact: Jo Reeves, jo@sawea.co.zaor to interview CEO Johan Van den Berg, please mail: admin@sawea.org.za or call +27 (0) 11 2140664.

*This calculation is based on household consumption of 6.000 kiloWatt hours per year (supplied by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and an average capacity factor of 35% from the wind turbines (this is a conservative figure as many turbines are performing closer to 40% plus).

SAWEA is a non-profit, industry organisation representing the wind industry in South Africa. Its members include both national and international entities active in the entire wind energy supply chain. Its aim is to promote the sustainable use of commercial wind energy in South Africa; to contribute knowledge and human resources to the streamlining of the policy and regulatory framework for wind in SA; to facilitate synergy between the growth of the industry and the achievement of the broader socio-economic aims of Government (including training, job creation and localisation); to disseminate information; to act as a focal point for discussion between members, government, the media and the public.

Information on wind energy

The 1 gigawatt of operational wind energy can be broken down as follows:

  • 649.25MW procured under REIPPPP Round 1
  • 329.68MW procured under Round 2 (further round 2 projects are still under construction)
  • 100MW Eskom’s Sere Wind Farm
  • 1.3MW Darling
  • 1.8MW Coega IDZ

The Department of Energy has committed to 13,225MW of renewable energy generation by 2025. This will be secured under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer’s Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), which has been running since 2011 and has already completed 4 successful bidding rounds.

Windaba 2016

Windaba is the official wind industry event hosted by the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) in partnership with Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). The annual conference and exhibition will take place in November 2016, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. For further information, please visit www.windaba.co.za

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China Wind Power Blows Past EU

10 February 2016

Record Chinese installations drive global market past 63 GW

Powered by an astonishing 30,500 MW of new installations in China, the global wind power industry installed 63,013 MW in 2015, representing annual market growth of 22%. The US market reached 8.6 GW on the back of a strong fourth quarter surge, and Germany led a stronger than expected performance in Europe with a record 6 GW of new installations, including 2.3 GW offshore. Total global capacity reached 432,419 MW at the end of 2015, representing cumulative growth of 17%.

"Wind power is leading the charge in the transition away from fossil fuels", said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of GWEC. "Wind is blowing away the competition on price, performance and reliability, and we're seeing new markets open up across Africa, Asia and Latin America which will become the market leaders of the next decade. Wind power led new capacity additions in both Europe and the United States, and new turbine configurations have dramatically increased the areas where wind power is the competitive option."

As a result of its extraordinary annual market, China has edged past the European Union in terms of total installed capacity, with 145.1 GW to the EU's 141.6 GW. The Chinese government's drive for clean energy, supported by continuous policy improvement, is motivated by the need to reduce dependence on coal which is the main source of the choking smog strangling China's major cities, as well as growing concern over climate change. Elsewhere in Asia, India chalked up a respectable 2,623 MW, pushing past Spain into fourth place in terms of cumulative capacity, after China, the US and Germany; and Japan, South Korea and Taiwan added some new capacity as well.

Germany's record 6,013 MW led a stronger than expected European market, followed by Poland (1,266 MW), France (1,073), the UK (975 MW) and Turkey (956 MW). There are now 16 European countries with more than 1,000 MW installed and 9 countries with more than 5,000 MW.

In the US, more than 5,000 MW was installed in a remarkable fourth quarter, which resulted in an annual market of 8,598 MW, and a cumulative total of 74,471 MW. Due to Congressional action late last year, the future looks very bright for the US wind business, with longer market visibility than it's ever had before. Canada installed 1,506 MW, pushing past the 10 GW barrier to end 2015 with 11,200 MW; and Mexico chalked up 714 MW to end the year at 3,073 MW.

Despite its economic and political woes, Brazil installed a record 2,754 MW, with cumulative capacity reaching 8.7 GW. Uruguay took a giant step closer to its goal of 100% renewable energy with a 2015 market of 316 MW, bringing cumulative installations to 845 MW. New wind power was also added in Panama, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Argentina.

The Middle East and Africa was led by South Africa's 483 MW market in 2015, pushing the country's total installations over the 1 GW mark. Jordan opened its first large commercial wind power plant in 2015, and Ethiopia added a large new plant, pushing the region's total to 3,289 MW.

Australia and the Pacific were quiet, although Australia added 380 MW to push the country's total installations to over 4 GW.

"2015 was a big year for the big markets – China, the US, Germany and Brazil, all of which set new records", said Sawyer. "But there is a lot of activity in new markets around the world and I think in 2016 we'll see a broader distribution".

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