After two years of uncertainty, the wind energy industry is pumping again, with R50-billion of investment realised this year, says South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) chairperson Tebogo Movundlela.
She told delegates at the opening of the 2018 Windaba, in Cape Town, on Wednesday, that this aligned with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to mobilise investment in South Africa.
“South Africa is on the cusp of creating a dynamic energy future,” said Movundlela.
She said she was very pleased that the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) had recognised renewable energy as the cheapest form of electricity, pointing out that the price of wind had halved and was now 79c/kWh.
“The draft IRP looks favourably at renewables. It is a recognition that it is viable.”
The signing of power purchase agreements for 27 independent power producer projects after a two-year delay brings the number of wind projects in South Africa to 36.
Through Round 4 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), 2 206 MW of new renewable power could be added to the national grid. Wind makes up 61% of this new capacity and currently contributes 52% of South Africa’s total private renewable power output.
“With construction on the most recent renewable projects under way, and the updated IRP anticipated by the end of 2018, this is a most exciting year for current and prospective investors in the South African renewable energy market,” said SAWEA CEO Brenda Martin.
About 32 000 job years are expected to be created in the wind energy sector over the four bid windows of the REIPPPP.
Windaba is the largest African gathering of wind energy professionals and stakeholders.