CEO Voice - April 2024

Dear Members,

As we conclude the month of April and celebrate 30 years of democracy in South Africa, I've been reflecting on the concept of energy democracy. South Africa's ongoing energy transition has set us apart from other countries in the Global South. With intentional focus on maintaining our current fleet and accelerating new generation capacity, we could find ourselves on a path of success, ensuring an affordable and secure energy supply for all.  Our transition to a low carbon future requires us to continue pursuing tried and tested new generation technologies such as Wind and Solar PV as we manage and optimise the system.

Over the past decade, the wind sector empowered resilient energy citizens through wind power accounting for more than 30% of Africa’s installed capacity, inspiring this year’s Windaba Conference & Exhibition theme: “Building Resilience Through Wind Power.” At Windaba, we will chart a course towards a low-carbon future powered by wind energy.


The future of wind

Looking into the future of wind technology, the Renewable Energy Grid Survey, a collaboration between SAWEA, Eskom, and SAPVIA, reveals approximately 34GW of wind energy projects in various stages of development. We already contribute more than 38 000 gigawatt-hours of electricity - enough to supply 3.6 million average households in South Africa annually.

Our biggest challenge remains - depleted grid capacity to connect new renewable energy plants in resource-rich areas of the country. If grid capacity is adequately addressed, South Africa could add 30GW of wind energy in the next 10 years. We are hopeful that through our continuous stakeholder engagement efforts, innovative approached to grid capacity and its allocation will be employed to further the integration on wind energy in REIPPPP bid window 7 and beyond.

Energy democracy is no longer just a necessity but an imperative.

This notion emphasises the importance of community engagement and active participation in energy systems, essential for South Africa’s just energy transition. As an association, we should take pride in our work, particularly in producing valuable tools such as our “COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT GUIDELINES.” These guidelines, inspired by various industry challenges in engaging with communities throughout project lifecycles, aim to capacitate the industry, foster knowledgeable energy communities, reinforce skills through impactful initiatives, and promote collaboration – all contributing positively to the energy transition.


Wind Energy Impact and Investment

An example of our industry's continued success is Seriti Green’s financial closure of the first phase in a R4.5 billion investment for Africa’s largest wind farm in Mpumalanga. I'd like to congratulate Seriti Green on this progressive milestone, addressing the challenges of climate change and energy supply while fostering a valuable partnership with the local community of Mpumalanga to cultivate a new generation of green skills.


2024 Elections Outlook

As we head into election month and National Energy Month, we eagerly anticipate the acceleration of new wind energy projects through both public and private procurement programmes. We are encouraged by several policy changes that will facilitate the expansion of renewable energy in our resource-rich and beautiful country.

Thank you for your continued support, and I wish SAWEA members all the best with the upcoming REIPPPP Bid Window 7 submissions.



Niveshen Govender