Oct 05, 2012
South Africa has attractive foundation for wind energyBack
Construction|SECURITY|Africa|Energy|Flow|Hydropower|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Security|System|Turbines|Africa|Europe|South Africa|Security|Energy|Energy Supply|Flow|Security|Wind Energy|Eastern Cape|Western Cape|Infrastructure|Jo Reeves|Power|Security|Turbines|Eastern Cape
© Reuse this
Another benefit is that larger wind farms can be built further from residences in South Africa, given that land is available in the country, unlike Europe, where infrastructure is located closer to residences.
Reeves notes there are many advantages to using wind energy for small or rural communities.
She notes that, as part of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme application process, applicants are required to demonstrate their social responsibility to communities through economic input.
“This includes setting up a community trust to give local communities a percentage of ownership and, therefore, share in the profits that can be fed back into the area. “There are also local employment benefits during construction and many developers invest in the community in other ways – for example, by providing skills training or scholarships for energy-related qualifications,” she says.
“Many people believe wind turbines will create a constant hum that will have a negative impact on their lives,” she says, adding that wind farms are, however, quiet and cannot usually be heard even from a few hundred metres away.
The visual impact of wind farms is a subjective matter, as some people like the look of wind farms and some do not.
“Ultimately, they are a temporary alteration to the landscape and, when decommissioned, the landscape will return to its former appearance, with no damage to the environment and with a significant boost to the energy supply,” says Reeves.
Further, she notes that many medical studies have been done, showing no evidence to suggest that wind turbines have any detrimental effect on the health of people living near them.
“The reality of a wind farm is generally much more attractive than the perceived threat. Global research has shown that neighbours of operating wind farms are often their biggest advocates and many who opposed wind farms in the planning stage become supporters once they have experienced the reality of coexisting with one,” she highlights.
However, despite the favourable levels of wind and solar energy – solar irradiation levels are impressive by international standards – in South Africa, electricity generation from these sources is dependent on the wind blowing and the sun shining.
“They cannot stand alone to supply all the energy needs of the country and they need to be a part of the energy mix with other renewable sources, such as biomass, hydropower and more traditional energy sources,” says Reeves.
Nevertheless, if wind and solar farms are spread over as many appropriate areas as possible, the contribution towards energy supply will be more continuous, she adds.
“Integrating renewable energy into the existing power system is a challenge and balancing an intermittent electricity supply with another, more continuous supply is a challenge for grid operators. South Africa requires a more sophisticated system to increase security of supply and reduce energy losses,” Reeves concedes.
However, she believes there are solutions to these challenges, such as the use of ‘smart grids’, which enable a two-way flow of power.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electricity News
Updated 2 hours 10 minutes ago Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu was considering the formation of a Women Construction Bank to focus on financing women-led cooperatives and construction companies involved in community infrastructure and human settlements projects. Delivering a keynote...
Updated 2 hours 34 minutes ago The seasonally adjusted Kagiso Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) has contracted for the fourth consecutive month, signalling the manufacturing sector’s continued subpar performance. The index “expectedly” fell from 46.6 in June to 45.9 index points in July,...
Updated 2 hours 47 minutes ago National carrier, South African Airways (SAA), is adding more travel options on the African continent. In a statement, on Thursday, SAA said it was increasing flights on the Johannesburg-Lagos route, where it will offer eight frequencies per week effective from 1...
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
This Week's Magazine
South African construction company Group Five says work on the rehabilitation of the 800 km stretch of the Plumtree–Mutare highway, in Zimbabwe, should be completed by the end of this year. Giving evidence before the Parliamentary Porfolio Committee on Transport...
The Space Operations division of the South African National Space Agency (Sansa) revealed on July 17 that it had supported the successful launch of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite on July 2. The...
Phase 1A of Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system should carry around 42 000 people a day, while it was been expected that Phase 1B, rolled out last year, would add another 60 000 daily passengers. However, the entire system is currently carrying...
A stormwater project in Bedforview, east of Johannesburg, has stalled for eight months after project managers in the Ekurhuleni municipality resigned and municipal managers were placed on special leave without designating replacements. Construction to reinforce the...
The design of the Beit Bridge border post is the biggest impediment to efficient freight movement between Zimbabwe and South Africa, says Cross-border Road Transport Agency CEO Sipho Khumalo. Beit Bridge is the busiest border post in Africa. A research study on the...