Lake Turkana
Pic credit: archiexpo.com
Wind power has has saved the country 4.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. Pic credit: archiexpo.com

In South Africa, the Department of Energy (DoE) launched its quarterly wind power publication at a conference in Cape Town earlier this week. The publication acknowledges the achievements of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), which has connected 1,991GWh of wind power to the national grid, since its inception in 2011.

Pros of South African wind power

A country recognised for having abundant solar potential, South Africa has too been identified as having exceptional wind resources, according to a recently developed Wind Atlas.

The generated 1,991GWh of wind power has contributed 15% during peak hours and has saved 4.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The Wind Atlas, which was initiated in 2009, highlights that “traditional climatology and global models underestimated resources potential in the country by as much as 5%.”

Future of wind for the country

According to the DoE’s publication, South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan expects wind energy to contribute 10% to the national energy production by 2030.

This translates to 9,200MW of wind power needing to be developed between 2010 and 2030.

“By August 2015, the Minister of Energy has determined 6,360MW of wind power to be procured from Independent Power Producers, targeting full operation by 2025. The determinations have thereby already given effect to 69% of the capacity planed for 2030,” the DoE noted in the publication.

According to the report, South Africa’s portfolio includes some of the largest wind power project in the world: “The average project size for the 34 wind IPPs being 98.74MW.”

Cost of wind

The cost of wind energy has been on the decline since bid window 1 where the tariff per kWh opened at ZAR1.42/kWh.

Today, the price has dropped by almost 50% with the cost now at ZAR0.71/kWh. This can be attributed to the sector’s competitiveness made possible through technology price developments and steep downward price trends, the publication added.

The report added that the country’s total wind capacity “will deliver an annual projected energy output of 11,796GWh.”

This is enough power to electrify 3.6 million homes annually.

The REIPPP focus on wind publication is due for release in December 2015.