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Identifying windiest spots for energy in South Africa

23 May 2012 – The recent release of the Wind Atlas for South Africa (WASA), a joint project by the CSIR, SANERI, SAWS, UCT and Riso DTU, is a boon to the development of renewable energy within South Africa.

Barbara Thompson, deputy minister of energy, said at the launch of a new wind atlas that "Wind is one of many resources our country is endowed with … It’s our quest to ensure energy security for this country."

Resource rich areas, like the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape provinces, have been identified as optimal for the siting of wind turbines.

“The existence of a comprehensive and accurate mesoscale wind atlas, that is freely available, will enable the optimum planning and siting of wind energy projects, greatly enhancing their bankability and, ultimately, the benefits that will accrue to the South African public,” Frost & Sullivan’s energy and power systems research analyst Gareth Blanckenberg, says.

Energy generated from renewable energy technologies is currently not cost competitive with conventional power generation sources, concludes Frost & Sullivan. The release of the Wind Atlas will, therefore, be most beneficial by ensuring that these wind energy resources deliver maximum returns.