Pic credit: archiexpo.com
Both the private and public sectors are working together towards social economic development and economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Pic credit: archiexpo.com

In Sub-Saharan Africa, a bright future for wind power has been predicted, with the potential of 7GW to be installed within the next decade, a prediction which came out of panel discussion at a wind energy conference in Cape Town on Wednesday.

When comparing South Africa to other emerging countries on a global scale in terms of risk profile, the panel highlighted the revolutionary role played by the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

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The REIPPP programme has been instrumental in creating an investor-friendly environment, which encourages the private sector to invest in growing the market, which in turn will favour localisation, a topic that remained at the forefront of discussion.

Wind turbine manufacturer, Nordex, was represented in the panel by managing director, Anne Henschel ,who said that there must be a strong focus of Government and all stakeholders, to guarantee the continuity of the renewable energy market in South Africa and to advance job creation.

Henschel commented: “We [Nordex] want to build and grow the renewable industry in South Africa. Further job creation depends on the capacity and the certainty of the local policy framework and South Africa needs at least a yearly allocation of 1,000MW to build a sustainable wind industry.”

South African energy minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersen, said in her keynote speech: “Across bid window 1 to 4 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) we expect 32,041 job years to be created.”

Wind driving skills development

The renewable sector is a young and vibrant industry, emphasising the need to implement strategies that will ensure its longevity.

Energy players such as Nordex, have partnered with like-minded institutions to form SARETEC, a centre specialising in renewable technology skills development.

The centre is gearing up to for its official opening in February next year, according to a SARETEC official.

Henschel concluded: “Further job creation is dependent on local skills development. Finding the right partners is crucial. The SARETEC facility in Bellville, as part of CPUT, is an example of a successful partnership by the Department of Higher Education, the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and Nordex, founded on Eurpoean standards, where local trainees benefit from technical skills transfer and a curriculum for service technicians in the wind industry.

“South Africa is proving to be an example for other countries when it comes to job creation.”