News & Advice Trending

Source: MediaClubSouthAfrica

South Africa is fast becoming a preferred renewable energy investment destination for both private and public sector investors – good news for the country’s growing electricity demands, emerging clean energy sector and the economy.

The World Bank recently approved a $250-million (R1.5- billion) loan to South African power utility Eskom to develop a wind and solar plant, which will help the country reduce its reliance on coal-based power generation.

The World Bank, which granted the funding through its Clean Technology Fund, will finance a 100-megawatt solar power plant in Upington in the Northern Cape province and a 100-megawatt wind power project north of Cape Town in the Western Cape.

Leading clean energy projects in Africa

The loan will enable Eskom to build two of the largest renewable energy projects ever attempted on the African continent, the World Bank said in a statement. Ebrahim Khan from Wesgro, the Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency, welcomed the World Bank’s investment into the renewable energy sector.

“These investments are a breath of fresh air and it shows that South Africa is no longer just talking about renewable energy,” Khan said.

“The good news for South Africa is that there are serious ambitions to get our energy mix right and there are more renewable energy power projects in the pipeline that are to be funded by private investors,” he added.

Key investment areas

He said that the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape Provinces have been identified as the main regions to establish renewable energy plants, particularly wind and solar. “Many people don’t know that the Northern part of the Western Cape has higher irradiation than the best locations in Spain and the State of California,” he said.

In the Western Cape, investment is primarily into wind and photovoltaic (PV) solar power. PV solar-power generation converts solar radiation to electricity by means of static panels.

He said that photovoltaics is the main form of solar technology that is used widely on a commercial scale in other parts of the world.

The Northern Cape has been identified as the best area for concentrated solar power (CSP) technology, which uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy onto a small area, usually with rotating panels.

Wesgro estimates that about 40% to 50% of the 1 850 wind technology projects and 30% to 40% of the 1 450 PV projects will come to the Western Cape.
According to Wesgro, wind resources in the Western Cape are substantial and among the best in the country.

“We are going for renewable energy in a big way,” he said.
Khan said South Africa has the potential to become a major player in the clean energy sector, with significant interest being shown by investors in the past few months.

Wesgro has also hosted many delegations who want to participate in the renewable energy sector. “Most of these companies are big players,” he said.
Research is still under way into ocean and wave technology, which can also be used to generate energy.

“There are universities in the province that are working on innovations with ocean and wave technologies, but the models have not been perfectly worked out yet,” Khan added.

Construction to start in 2012

Eskom is in the process of building and upgrading existing coal-fired power plants to meet South Africa’s immediate energy needs, but it wants to diversify the energy mix toward cleaner sources of energy.

Last year the World Bank received criticism for approving a $3.75-billion (R29.3 billion) loan for the development of a coal-fired plant in South Africa, but Eskom said the project was necessary to address the country’s chronic power shortages.

Eskom anticipates that the construction of the 100-megawatt wind power project north of Cape Town will start early in 2012.

Possibilities for manufacturing

Khan said that there are good opportunities to establish a manufacturing sector focused on parts and components for the renewable energy sector.

In the wind energy sector, European companies are already looking for suitable sites to set up plants to manufacture components such as blades for wind turbines, as they are extremely cumbersome to transport.

Wind power company Isivunguvungu Wind Energy Converter (I-WEC) has identified Cape Town as its base to manufacture Africa’s first multi-megawatt wind turbines.

Cape Business News reports that a large 42-ton mould, which recently arrived at Table Bay Harbour from China, will be used to manufacture 50m-long rotor blades for the 2.5MW turbines. This exceeds the span of an Airbus wing.

The company plans to start production on its first turbine immediately, in time to set up the final product in Saldanha, northwest of Cape Town, early next year.

According to I-WEC, the new 2.5MW turbines are almost double the size and capacity of the 1.3MW turbines currently used in South Africa.
Each turbine has the capacity to provide enough power to run about 2 000 average South African households for a year.

I-WEC is also the first South African and African company that can manufacture the multi-megawatt wind turbines locally, using local labour. Up to 70% of the turbines’ components will be manufactured in South Africa.

By Wilma den Hartigh

 

Leave a Reply

Repo Rate Cut: Encouraging News For Home Buyers
Is Now The Right Time To Upgrade To a Bigger, Better Home?
Why Creditworthiness Is Just As Important For Tenants
Is Investing In Property During The Recession Still A Good Idea?
28 Important Questions To Ask When Buying Property
Is Hosting Your Property On Airbnb Legal?
5 Easy Ways to Sell Your Home FAST!
Divorcing And Need To Sell? 3 Possible Options
Unrealistic Expectations Can Sour Relations With Agents
Poor Economy Affecting South Africa’s Property Market
Does The Property Market Still Need Estate Agents?
New Landlords Need Experienced Agents
Make Your Bond Work For You
The Perils of Rising Consumer Debt For Landlords
The Gap Between Asking and Selling Price Widens
First-Time Home Buyer? How To Avoid Tax And Get Up To 44% More Space
Is Now The Right Time To Upgrade To a Bigger, Better Home?
Is Investing In Property During The Recession Still A Good Idea?
28 Important Questions To Ask When Buying Property
3 Most Annoying Things About Buying A Home (And How To Avoid Them!)
House Hunting: How To Get Over The One That Got Away
Factors To Consider When Letting Out Property
7 Deadly Sins to Avoid When Investing in Property
4 Hot Tips For Investing In Student Accommodation
Is Property an Asset or Expense?
Property Buyers Value Lifestyle Over Value-Growth Prospects
How Older Buyers Show The Power Of Home Equity
How To Make Your Offer To Purchase More Attractive To Sellers
How To Find Your Diamond In The Dust?
Essential Questions For Home Buyers To Ask Their Real Estate Agent
Top Tips For Selling Your Home in Winter
5 Easy Ways to Sell Your Home FAST!
Unrealistic Expectations Can Sour Relations With Agents
Cut Your Price and Get The Jump on Other Homesellers
Unrealistic Seller Expectations Contribute To Declining Sales
Key Aspects And Features That Sell Homes
Lightstone predicts a buyer’s market for 2017
House Won’t Sell? Here’s What You’re Doing Wrong!
Factors that determine property value
Create Home Buyer Appeal Through Home Staging
Is There A Difference Between Offers?
How To Decide When To Sell
Does My Agent Care About Me Or Just The Commission?
3 Questions To Ask Before Listing Your Home
I Just Bought A Home – Now I’m Unexpectedly Being Transferred
Why Creditworthiness Is Just As Important For Tenants
Factors To Consider When Letting Out Property
New Landlords Need Experienced Agents
The Perils of Rising Consumer Debt For Landlords
First-Time Tenant? What You Need To Know
Average residential rental values on the increase
Is It Possible To Terminate A Lease Agreement Without Recourse?
New Generation Digs Now On The Rise
When Is Your Rent Due?
Gauteng Property Rental Market Forecasts Growth
Keeping Track of Parking On Common Property
How And When To Legally Evict Tenants
The Rental Housing Amendment Act: Waiting For Light In The Dark?
Tenants: Be Aware Of Ongoing Credit Checks
How To Rent With Pets
Divorcing And Need To Sell? 3 Possible Options
5 Mistakes To Avoid When Relocating
7 Tips For Packing And Moving Quickly
Moving? Things To Think About!
Maximising Small Spaces
7 Tips To Help Your Children To Adapt To The Move
What To Do With Your Home When You Have To Relocate
Moving With Pets Can Be Tricky
Estate Agent Moving Tips
Telltale Signs You Need A New Home
Seven Signs You Need A New Nest
Über Wealthy On The Increase And On The Move
First-Time Home Buyer? How To Avoid Tax And Get Up To 44% More Space
Repo Rate Cut: Encouraging News For Home Buyers
Is Investing In Property During The Recession Still A Good Idea?
4 Hot Tips For Investing In Student Accommodation
Make Your Bond Work For You
Energy-Saving Tips For Your Home This Winter
Costs To Consider When Investing In Property
Smaller Properties Yield Great Investments
8 Myths Preventing People From Real Estate Investing
Own Fixed Property? You Need a Will!
Tax Tips for Landlords – What You Need To Know
The Perfect Investment Property
St Francis Bay’s housing market attracting top dollar
Factors that determine property value
Average residential rental values on the increase
Is Hosting Your Property On Airbnb Legal?
How To Protect Your Commercial Property Investment
Commercial property still important asset class for private buyers
Know The Risks Before Building Airbnb Castles In The Sky
Green Buildings Catching On In South Africa
Digital Disruption And The South African Commercial Real Estate Market
Can You Run A Business From A Sectional Title Home?
What’s Driving Change In The Commercial Property Sector?
5 Ways Commercial Property Space Planning Can Save You Money
Investing In Commercial Property an Attractive Option
3 Obvious Signs That It’s Time For Office Relocation
3 Things You Need To Know Before Buying Vacant Land
Price Correction In Commercial Property Market
South Africa: Evolution of Industrial Properties
The Commercial Times Are Changing