South Africa has great wind energy potential
Mar 22, 2012 - newtoday.com.bd
CAPE TOWN, Mar 17: There exists great wind energy potential that remains to be tapped in South Africa, experts said, reports Xinhua.
South Africa has the capacity to develop 10 to 15 gigawats of wind energy in the future, according to SA National Energy Research Institute researcher Andre Otto.
The best wind energy locations in South Africa compared “favourably” and “equally” with the best sites internationally, he said in remarks appearing on the web of the local newspaper Cape Argus yesterday.
“Development will depend on whether the grid is able to access specific locations whether there are industrial facilities nearby and agricultural and environmental considerations,” he said.
The South African Energy Ministry on Tuesday released data on wind resources which could be used to determine the viability of wind farms.
Information contained in the world-class map, which cost about 22 million rand (about 2.9 million U.S. dollars) to produce, showed that South Africa’s wind potential was on par with countries such Denmark, Germany and India.
Under South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), 42 percent of new energy generations are to come from renewable energies, amounting to a total of 37, 000 megawatts of renewable energy, of which 633.99 MW are to be wind energy.
Otto said South Africa had the advantage of renewable energy not yet being monopolized, thus leaving space for small businesses and black economic empowerment enterprises.
“The question here (in South Africa) is how we bring communities (into the fold). We need to take (the development) to those communities “C to see how we can assist them,” Otto said.
Among the challenges accompanying the use of wind energy are a reduction in agricultural-use of land, and environmental considerations such as the effects on bird and bat-life, Otto said.
Farmers might be tempted to stop farming agricultural land if they could sustain an easier income from selling wind power from their farm, he said.
“The wind atlas research needs to be coupled with agricultural and environmental research,” Otto said.
He said that while wind turbines were expensive to build, these expenses were comparable to those of other clean energies such as solar and hydro energies.
“But the benefits of wind energy are greater than the cost to build (turbines),” Otto said.