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Recent data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) puts Africa in third place with 8.4% growth in renewables capacity, which is largely made up of wind.

According to the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), South Africa is spearheading this sector forward, contributing to greater social and economic growth.

SAWEA Chair, Mercia Grimbeek, explains that the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REI4P) “continues to be the most exciting wind energy opportunity globally. Many countries are looking to learn from SA’s experience and leapfrog to the next development level. It is the innovative technology that the African power sector needs". Read more: South Africa’s renewable energy landscape

Also commenting, Janek Winand, managing director of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy in South Africa, who will be speaking at this year’s Windaba conference, noted: “With the promising development of the Integrated Resource Plan [IRP] potentially leading to continuous smooth procurement, coupled with the potential capacity to expand and build a supply chain locally, South Africa is poised to serve the sub-Sahara region. Furthermore, South Africa has become a centre of competence for project development and is geared to spread beyond borders.”

SAWEA added that it is anticipated that the next competitive auction for renewable energy in South Africa will be announced by the second half of 2019, following a positive start to the year, which saw government renewing its commitment to growing this sector as part of the country’s sustainable energy mix. Read more: Decentralised renewable energy producers can help relieve pressure on the grid

“2019 has kicked off on a positive note for the renewable energy industry but, although the future of wind energy looks bright, there is much that the industry collectively still needs to achieve to consolidate its position and deliver on the many benefits it promises economically, socially and environmentally. We believe that it is within our grasp to secure the generation of affordable, sustainable and reliable power in Africa,” concluded Grimbeek.