The ninth edition of the yearly Windaba conference will expand its focus from the role that wind energy can play in improving electricity security and development in South Africa to the generation technology’s potential in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.
The 2019 gathering takes place in Cape Town from October 8 to 9 under the theme of ‘Unleashing Renewable Power for African Economic Development’.
Besides focusing on the employment and manufacturing opportunities associated with the growth of the industry in South Africa under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), the conference has been designed to share the lessons learned from South Africa’s world-renowned competitive-bidding process with the broader continent.
South African Wind Energy Association chairperson Mercia Grimbeek says the REIPPPP continues to be one of the most exciting wind energy opportunities globally.
“Many countries are looking to learn from South Africa’ experience and leapfrog to the next development level,’ Grimbeek says.
South Africa remains sub-Saharan Africa’s leading wind-energy market and it is anticipated that the country’s next competitive auction for renewable energy, including wind, will be launched in the second half of 2019.
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy in South Africa MD Janek Winand, who will speak at this year’s event, is optimistic that the much-anticipated update to the country’s Integrated Resource Plan will result in “continuous smooth procurement”.
Winand argued that steady procurement in the domestic market will enable the country to build and expand its wind industry supply chain, which could position South Africa to serve the broader sub-Saharan Africa market.
“South Africa has become a centre of competence for project development and is geared to spread beyond borders,” Winand asserts.