NewEnergyNews: WIND GOES TO WORK FOR SOUTH AFRICA

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    Wednesday, May 28, 2008

    WIND GOES TO WORK FOR SOUTH AFRICA

    South Africa has been struggling with energy shortages and periodic outages for months (see S. AFRICA, FACING SHORTS, TO TRY NEW ENERGY) and the country has been studying the development of many kinds of New Energy. That it’s first wind installation went online May 23 demonstrates one of wind energy’s strengths: It can go more quickly and affordably from concept to electricity than almost any other source of power.

    Wind also comes online with minimal aggravation to environment or global climate change but South Africa needs more electricity right now and would not ask about such things. That’s what’s amazing about wind: It satisfies a lot of different needs.

    Point of personal privilege: It is not that NewEnergyNews expects notoriously oblivious Americans to take any interest in South Africa. It is that NewEnergyNews expects Americans to say to themselves, “Hmm, energy shortages could happen here. We ought to get our government busy crafting the kinds of policies that will incentivize the development of New Energy BEFORE there are shortages and outages.

    Tell Congress to get busy building New Energy at
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    This small (4-turbine, 5.2 megawatt) S. African installation is a hint of what wind energy can provide. The government called it a “flagship” for New Energy. Having relied on coal and nuclear energies during the time it was shunned by the world because of apartheid, the government is now seeking foreign funding for more New Energy projects.

    The country is thought to have good solar assests and exceptional ocean energy resources.
    (See TURN TOWARD SOLAR IN DESPERATE S. AFRICA and SOUTH AFRICA WANTS WAVES)

    click to enlarge

    Wind energy farm will help solve power crisis
    Bronwynne Joost, May 24, 2008 (Pretoria News via IOL)

    WHO
    Eskom; Buyelwa Sonjica, Minister, Minerals and Energy Affairs;

    Eskom has failed to meet demand lately. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    S. Africa brought its first wind installation, a 5.2-megawatt facility, online.

    WHEN
    - The wind plant went online May 24. It has an expected 25-year lifespan.
    - S. Africa is aiming to generate 10,000 gigawatts of New Energy by 2013.

    Eskom now posts a peak load meter on its website and offers RSS feed updates. (click to enlarge)

    WHERE
    - S. Africa’s first wind installation is in Darling, on the country’s Western Cape.
    - The Eastern Cape is also being studied for New Energy potential.

    WHY
    - The 4 turbine, 5.2-megawatt wind farm will supply Darling and Cape Town via the Eskom grid.
    - The turbines are 50 meters tall and generate power in winds as gentle as 14 km/hr (8.7 mph).
    - Funded by the Central Energy Fund, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Danish government at a cost of R7 million.
    - Developed by Darling Independent Power Producer.

    Eskom's 2007 performance review: Possibly coming soon to a utility near you. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Buyelwa Sonjica, Minister, Minerals and Energy Affairs: "These are ambitious targets and we must move very fast to reach them. But we are nowhere near exhausting our potential for wind farming. We must exploit our renewable energy resources…Nuclear energy has served the country for 20 years and that is why it is easier to obtain funding for projects of that kind."
    - Tasneem Essop, provincial MEC, environment, planning and economic development: "We've had droughts and flash floods. We are aware that we need to mitigate climate change. The Western Cape is the best place for renewable energy and we are looking at all forms, like solar and wave energy."

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