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Jan 05, 2009

Denmark to host wind energy seminar in Pretoria

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In promoting wind energy, and its potential to become big business in South Africa, Danish Foreign Affairs Minister Per Stig Moller would open a wind energy seminar in Pretoria on January 23.

South African Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica would also be present at the seminar, where Danish companies Vestas Wind Systems, Dong Energy, and Suzlon Wind Energy would make presentations on the global green energy frontier.

The one-day international seminar would be hosted by the Embassy of Denmark in Pretoria and the South African Cities Network in cooperation with the Danish energy players.

Denmark developed its wind energy strategies in the 1970s and 1980s, and, at present, renewable energies, largely wind, made up 27% of the country's electricity supply.

Wind power has become big business, and Danish companies were viewed as world leaders in wind power production.

The Department of Minerals and Energy has set a target of generating 10 000 GWh of electricity from renewable resources by 2013. This was however, viewed as a very modest target by environmental organisations. It was felt that with South Africa’s abundance of resources such as sunshine, and wind, a larger proportion of energy from renewables was achievable.

State-owned power utility Eskom, has also indicated its intentions to diversify its energy mix away from its heavy reliance on coal-based power generation.

Eskom previously stated that it was in negotiations with potential suppliers for its proposed wind farm, to be built near Koekenaap in the Vredendal area of the Western Cape. It was expected that the farm would consist of 50 2MW turbines, generating some 100 MW of power. The planned completion date for the wind farm was March 30, 2010.

“We are delighted to bring three Danish energy players that also happen to be world leaders, to South Africa. The Danish experience in wind energy is a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. Not only does is make Denmark greener, but it also provide jobs and foreign exchange,” said Denmark’s ambassador to South Africa, Dan Frederiksen.

Indeed, WWF climate change programme manager Richard Worthington explained that the renewable energy sector has significant potential to create jobs and achieve a number of social benefits, should South Africa develop appropriate renewable energy industry capabilities.

The Pretoria seminar would also have energy experts delivering papers and talks on wind mapping, wind technology, the Clean Development Mechanism, connecting wind power to the national grid, uplifting local communities with green technologies and wind energy in South Africa.

Dong Energy is a company involved in clean coal production and integration of wind power into the grid, and is the primary energy provider in Denmark.

For more information on the seminar, contact Leandi Streeter at leandi@innovationcafe.co.za.

Edited by: Mariaan Webb
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