Over the next four years South Africa has the potential for capacity addition to its wind installation, making it a new hotspot. Research and consulting firm GlobalData states that more than 3 Gigawatts (GW) is expected to be installed by 2020, bringing the country’s cumulative capacity up to 5.6 GW.
The company’s latest report states that until 2012 the wind industry in South Africa was almost non-existent, with just about 10 Megawatts (MW) of cumulative installed capacity, which was installed over 10 years. Since then, installed capacity has swiftly improved, with 30 MW installed in 2013, 606 MW in 2014 and 483 MW in 2015.
Pavan Vyakaranam, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Power, explains:
Despite the large capacity additions in 2014 and 2015, South Africa is still new to the wind industry, and it has huge wind power potential.
“At this point it is very important to have a system to determine wind speeds and other factors throughout the expanses of the country in order to plan installations, future capacity and infrastructure development in accordance with the wind potential in the different regions and sites.
“For example, in the same region there may be multiple wind sites and each site may have different wind speeds and potential due to different altitudes and terrains. A system that maps these sites and their wind potential would be highly instrumental for the government as well as for power producers in several aspects of planning, such as turbine size, fixing tariffs, and developing roads and transmission infrastructure.”
GlobalData believes that South Africa’s newfound focus on wind power will push the country closer to reaching its climate targets. In 2015, South Africa submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Commitments (INDC) ahead of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21), stating that it intends to strike a balance between the much-needed development of power capacity and the necessity to limit greenhouse gas emission.
“The energy sector is currently the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in South Africa, emitting close to 250 million tons (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent. With more capacity additions underway, wind power will account for reductions to greenhouse gas emissions in South Africa by an estimated 6.4 MT in 2020 and then 12.7 MT in 2025.”