South Africa Harnesses Power of the Wind

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According to the South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea), power from wind energy is being used to supply about 511,000 households with over 1 gigawatt (GW) of electricity being fed into the country’s grid.

South Africa has grown from 10 turbines in 2011 to 13 large wind farms in operation, consisting of over 495 turbines, with many more under construction. More than 3GW of wind energy has already been allocated through the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPPP).

Sawea maintains that as water shortages continue to plague the country, renewable energy saves water. 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.

In its November 2015 fact sheet, the association says there are 13 fully operational windfarm developments feeding 953MW into the national grid. There are now more than 400 wind turbines creating electricity throughout South Africa. The price of wind energy in Round 4(a) of the REIPPPP was R619/MWh, almost 40% cheaper than forecast prices for Eskom’s new build coal plants, Medupi and Kusile.

The Department of Energy has committed to 13 225MW of renewable energy generation by 2025. This will be secured under the REIPPPP, which has been running since 2011 and has already completed four successful bidding rounds.

Sawea is gearing up for Windaba, the official wind industry event it hosts in partnership with the Global Wind Energy Council. This year’s theme for Sawea’s annual conference, Windaba, is “Towards 100% Renewables”. The annual conference and exhibition will take place in November 2016, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

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