Oct 18, 2012
Wind-site developer pursuing 2 000 MW SA pipelineBack
Canberra|Africa|CoAL|GDF Suez|Industrial|Investec Bank|Moyeng Energy|PROJECT|Projects|REIPPP|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Resources|Windlab|Africa|Australia|South Africa|Electricity Demand|Energy|Energy Procurement Process|Equipment|Manufacturing|Verification Equipment|Wind Energy|Wind Resource Mapping Technology|Wind-energy Site Developer|Eastern Cape|West Coast|Dipolelo Elford|Dipuo Peters|Peter Venn|Power|Roger Price|Eastern Cape|East Coast|West Coast|Renewables Technologies|Wind Resource Mapping Technology
© Reuse this
CEO Roger Price says the country’s abundant and high-quality onshore wind resources, coupled with growing electricity demand and a sound renewable-energy procurement process has positioned South Africa as a key “growth engine” for the company.
All told, Windlab, which is headquartered in Canberra, Australia, is advancing a portfolio of 40 wind projects on five continents, involving some 5 000 MW. But Price says the South African portfolio represents around half of the group’s advanced prospects.
The immediate focus, though, is on the 138 MW Amakhala Emoyeni site, near Bedford, in the Eastern Cape, which is being developed by Cennergi and the West Coast 1 project, being pursued by Moyeng Energy, a consortium involving Investec Bank and GDF Suez.
Windlab’s proprietary wind resource mapping technology was deployed in the selection of the sites and Price believes the visibility offered to the developers will lower the operational risks and improve shareholder returns.
Initially developed by researchers at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the technology, known as WindScape, delivers high-resolution wind-resource maps ahead of the deployment of the physical wind measuring and verification equipment.
Windlab Africa MD Peter Venn says the technology has enabled the company to identify high-potential prospects on the east coast of Africa, which it aims to pursue over the coming years.
But Venn stresses that Windlab is also prepared to enter projects as a minority equity partner, which further lowers the independent power producer development risk.
Both Price and Venn are sanguine about the current REIPPP delays, arguing that, while they would have preferred the first bid-window projects to have closed in June as initially conceived, the schedule slippage is not untoward in light of the novelty and scale of the programme being pursued.
However, Windlab believes that South Africa will only fully benefit from the growing cost competitiveness of wind if the current programme to procure 3 725 MW of renewable energy evolves into a rolling procurement programme, with a far larger allocation for wind.
During the second REIPPP bid window the successful wind projects were tendered at a price of 89c/kWh, making them competitive with new coal-fired production on a levelised cost basis.
However, should the localisation thresholds rise from 30% currently to closer to the 65% aspiration, that cost competitiveness would be undermined – unless the allocation is large enough to justify manufacturing investments by equipment suppliers.
Price believes a wind procurement programme of around 1 000 MW a year over a period of ten years would be sufficient to facilitate the localisation currently being sought by the South African authorities.
Energy Minister Dipuo Peters is expected to release a new determination soon extending the REIPPP to 2020 and adding a further 3 200 MW for procurement. However, this figure is yet to be confirmed and the allocation split between the various renewables technologies is also not yet certain.
In the meantime, Windlab is working with other local wind developers to communicate the benefits of the technology to farmers and near-project communities.
Dipolelo Elford has been appointed to facilitate this liaison process and is overseeing the “Communities for Wind” programme on behalf of Windlab.
Elford says there is potential for communities to benefit both as shareholders and as employees. Efforts will also be made to communicate the potential synergies between agricultural activities and the deployment of wind projects.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
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.
This Week's Magazine
JSE-listed real estate investment trust (REIT) Rebosis Property Fund achieved a distribution growth of 8.1% to 99.45c per linked unit in the financial year ended August 31, despite volatile market conditions.
A low-cost, inflatable incubator won this year’s international James Dyson design award, which aims to encourage and inspire the next generation of design engineers.
The World Bank released its ‘Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency’ report last month and ranked South Africa 43 out of 189 global economies for its ease of doing business, with Singapore topping the rankings.
Air Products South Africa officially launched its R300-million Eastern Cape air- separation unit (ASU), at its new manufacturing facility in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), earlier this month. It is the second facility that Air Products launched in South...
BMW South Africa (SA) has signed a power purchasing agreement with energy company Bio2Watt. The offtake partnership will bring renewable energy to the carmaker’s Rosslyn plant, north of Pretoria.