Despite many successes in the industry, the value of wind energy to South Africa is still underrepresented. Supporting this key message from the Department of Energy at Windaba 2015, Karen Breytenbach, head of the Independent Power Producer’s Office, presented statistics showing the widespread benefits of wind energy, including huge water savings brought about by renewable energy.
“For each kilowatt hour of renewable energy that displaces fossil fuels in the national grid, 1.2 litres of water will be saved. At full operation of the entire portfolio, the programme will save 52 million litres of water per annum,” she pointed out.
She added that misplaced concerns over the availability of wind energy could be put to rest since “of wind energy’s overall contribution to electricity generation, 15% of that has come during peak hours over the last six months and will continue to play a key role as the installed capacity grows, filling our peak hours with clean energy.”
South African Wind Energy Association chairperson, Heather Sonn, talked about the value renewable energy brings to the economy. She announced that the 92 projects selected as part of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement programme (REIPPPP) have attracted R193bn in private sector investment, totalling a contribution of 6 327 MW of capacity to the national grid.
Of this total, 28% comes from foreign investment – R53.2bn. This equals 85.8% of total direct foreign investment in South Africa last year. These projects have also committed more than R90 billion to community development initiatives.
Other facts and figures about the benefits of wind energy include that the REIPPPP will have created 32,041 job years between Rounds 1-4 with this figure set to grow exponentially as capacity allocation increases. Once fully procured the REIPPPP will see 45 million tonnes of carbon emissions displaced annually, offsetting 9.67% of our national emissions (as calculated in 2010).
Windaba is the official wind industry event hosted by the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) in partnership with Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).