Could wind power potentially be the future for a cheaper form of electricity in South Africa?
This answer is yes, according to Peter Venn, managing director for Windlab Africa.
“Its a really rich country, there is no need for South Africa to look at offshore investment.”
There is enough wind power in SA for government to procure as much wind energy as they want.
“Wind is the cheapest, quickest most reliable.”
Windlab has about 5 000 megawatts of wind farm projects across the globe. More than 2 000 megawatts are in SA alone.
There are currently two wind farms in South Africa, one on the west coast and the other in the Eastern Cape. Both are demonstration projects and will be completed from a construction point of view in the next few months.
Costs to run a wind farm would be between R1 billion to R3 billion, said Venn.
“As citizens of South Africa, we should be happy that Windlab is developing the best projects in SA. We want to be building wind farms in the best places. It’s been a significant investment into SA and we plan to grow by more than 50%.”
At the moment, wind energy is one of the cheapest powers obtainable, and that is backed up by the International Energy Agency, said Venn.
“Its on a par with combine gas turbine. Wind power is also economical because it is a free resource which requires no water usage, especially in a country where water is scarce.”
Wind farms could also benefit rural communities since it could only be constructed in these vast areas. There are benefits for communities in terms of infrastructure and job creation, said Venn.
“Government also says that from revenue, 1.5% must go to social economic development, 0.6% to enterprise development, and a minimum of 2.5% must go to local ownership.
There are already more than 1 000 white collar jobs that have been created through projects.”
Energy minister Dipuo Peters, together with Danish minister for Climate, Energy and Building Martin Lidegaard, last year launched the South African Wind Energy Awareness Campaign: Powered by Wind.
The campaign is aimed at creating awareness around wind as a source of renewable energy, its positive economic and job creation implications and to dispel myths and common misperceptions.
Denmark has been a world leader in wind power production for the past 30 years, according to the Danish Wind Industry Association.
“In 2020, 50% of the electricity consumption will be covered by wind power,” it said.