South Africa Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has secured US $3.5bn investment in the country’s wind energy sector.
Tebogo Movundlela, Chair of the association confirmed the reports and said the funds were aligned with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for South Africans to mobilize investment in the country that will help solve the energy problems.
“South Africa is on the cusp of creating a dynamic energy future. Iam pleased that the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) had recognised renewable energy as the cheapest form of electricity, pointing out that the price of wind had halved and was now 79c/kWh,” said Movundlela.
Speaking at the at the Windaba conference in Cape Town, an annual and largest African wind energy conference, Tebogo acknowledge that after two years of uncertainty, renewable energy programme was back on track with the government’s signing another 27 independent power producers this year, out of which 12 were wind projects. The wind sector had also secured 32 000 jobs since the start of the country’s wind energy programme.
South African renewable energy market
Several speakers at the annual wind energy conference spoke of the global revolution in the energy sector, commenting that it was moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy, driven largely by the rapid drop in the price of renewables.
“With construction on the most recent renewable projects under way, and the updated IRP anticipated by the end of 2018, this is a most exciting year for current and prospective investors in the South African renewable energy market,” said SAWEA CEO Brenda Martin.
Steve Sawyer, senior policy advisor of the Global Wind Energy Council pointed out that renewable energy now provided one quarter of the world’s electricity. Last year 88% of new investment in power generation was from solar and wind energy. In 2004 the global investment in renewables was US $50bn. This had risen to US $279bn in 2017.
“Investment in solar PV is being driven by the developing countries, with China the biggest investor. Investment in offshore wind is growing and increased by four times between 2013 and 2016,” Sawyer said.
Tebogo Movundlela however, urged the government policies aside from dropping prices of renewable, to support the industry such as a decarbonising policy arguing that dropping prices is not enough to move the energy sector forward.