Wind power could breathe new life into Africa’s energy economy
MORE than 50 years ago British prime minister Harold Macmillan angered the apartheid government when he told its parliament that the wind of change was blowing through Africa. Now a new, revolutionary wind could blow away energy poverty as an obstacle to the continent’s aspirations.
The International Energy Agency estimates that 625-million sub-Saharan Africans are without power. The World Bank says 25 countries in the region face a crisis of weak energy capacity, poor reliability, and high costs.
In just five years, 92 independent power producers secured contracts in SA with a combined nameplate capacity of 6,327MW.
The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) seeks clean energy with societal benefits, using a level cost of electricity as a metric that divides lifetime costs of production by electricity produced.
Siemens’s new yardstick — society’s cost of electricity — includes job creation, employment effects, health and geopolitical risks, and security of supply.
Since 2011, renewable projects have attracted R193bn of private investment; R19.1bn has been committed to socioeconomic development over 20 years and R6bn to enterprise development. The total projected value of goods and services procured from broad-based black economic empowerment suppliers is more than R101bn.
The energy centre at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) determined that the two terawatt-hours (TWh) generated from solar and wind facilities during the first six months of 2015 contributed a net benefit to the economy of up to R4bn.
REIPPPP stipulates local community ownership of 2.5%, but their actual shareholding across the procured portfolio is 10.5%.
South African equity shareholding across bid windows one to four is 47% of R65.8bn.
Renewable energy production has cut the equivalent of 4.4-million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
The state’s 2010 Integrated Resource Plan calls for 17,800MW of renewable energy by 2030 — a fifth of predicted demand. The Department of Energy has committed to 13,225MW of renewable energy generation by 2025.
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