Oct 05, 2012
South Africa has attractive foundation for wind energyBack
Construction|Africa|Environment|Flow|Hydropower|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|SECURITY|System|Training|Turbines|Africa|Europe|South Africa|Energy|Energy Supply|Flow|Solutions|Wind Energy|Eastern Cape|Western Cape|Infrastructure|Jo Reeves|Power|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
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
Today’s organisations execute projects within increasingly complex environments – particularly in the engineering sector. The ability to successfully execute these projects is what drives the realisation of successful projects and, ultimately, the achievement of...
South Africa’s distribution grid is a twentieth-century relic, which must be changed to serve the country’s modern electricity needs, says South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) Smart Grid Programme manager Dr Minnesh Bipath. “What we are...
There is a disparity in government funding provided to integrated transport networks – bus rapid transit (BRT) networks ¬¬– and that given to conventional bus services, says Putco executive director Thys Heyns. “We have neglected and strangled conventional bus...
The Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) is building 502 rental housing units, valued at R200-million, in Dobsonville, Soweto, which are scheduled for completion in June 2016.
Automotive component manufacturer and distributor Metair is centralising its research and development (R&D) work in Turkey, in an attempt to bolster the company’s ability to produce affordable start/stop batteries. The new R&D centre is part of an expansion plan in...