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African wind sector poised for promise

Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC) Secretary General, Steve Sawyer, says that besides market leader South Africa, both Morocco and Egypt appear to be geared for solid growth in the next five years adding that smaller markets in Kenya, Ethiopia are not too far behind.

Wind sector could see change for 2016

GWEC released the ‘Global Wind Report: Annual Market Update’ on Monday, which highlights that the wind industry reached another milestone in 2015 with annual installations hitting 63GW, a 22% increase on the 2014 annual market.

Sawyer noted in a statement that by the end of 2015, there was around 433GW of wind power installed across the globe, a 17% increase over the previous year.

[quote]He added that according to the International Energy Agency, wind power supplied more new power generation than any other technology in 2015.

However, during a webcast on Tuesday, Sawyer said that the 2015 wind installation figures are unlikely to be matched in 2016, adding that growth could reduce by 1.6% with China unlikely to sustain its spectacular 2015 performance, when the country installed over 30GW of new wind capacity, Engineering News reported.

South Africa powering ahead with wind

According to the report, the South African wind industry is currently worth an estimated a $4.9 billion, which has been supported through government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

“The first three rounds of the REIPPPP totalling 1,984MW have reached financial close. Financial close for another 1,363MW (REIPPP Round 4(a) and (b)) is pending while the preferred bidders for the Expedited REIPPPP Round 4, with at least 800MW, are expected to be announced shortly,” an extract in the report noted.

According to Engineering News, the South African Wind Energy Association recently revealed that the country has 13 large wind farms in operation, comprising over 495 turbines.

Action taken to reduce CO02 emissions

In a statement, Sawyer highlighted that out of the 186 nations that virtually made the commitment at the recent COP21, to reduce CO02 emissions, 150 will be meeting in New York this week to formally sign the agreement.

“Outgoing UNFCCC head Christiana Figueres predicts ratification could happen within the next two years, paving the way for the agreement to come into force in 2018, two years ahead of schedule,” Sawyer said.

With the 2050 target set to stay below 20C, Sawyer says that “anyone making an investment decision to build a coal-fired power plant today is seriously risking having a stranded asset.”

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.