UK government invests R125 million in South African wind farms

 ·29 Nov 2023
Alta Wind Energy

The UK government’s British International Investment (BII) has announced a R125 million investment into two 140-megawatt (MW) wind farms in South Africa.

Located in the Northern and Eastern Cape, the two wind farms are currently under construction and are expected to be completed in 2024.

The institution said this investment “aims to help tackle South Africa’s energy crisis and accelerate economic growth.”

BII said that outages experienced by South Africa cost the country 2% to 4% of its gross domestic product annually, and the wind projects aim to mitigate this.

They also seek to reduce carbon emissions in the country and attempt to “maximise the delivery of consistent and clean power to South Africa’s cities, villages, townships, businesses and farms – providing a major boost to productivity and economic growth.”

The farms are part of a three-project cluster that is being co-developed by South African renewable energy developers H1 Capital and EDF Renewables.

In addition to this, the BII is also partnering with Norweigan-based renewable energy company Scatec to launch three solar and battery storage facilities in Kenhardt, Northern Cape, under South Africa’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP).

South Africa’s electricity grid is currently supported by 34 operational wind farms with a combined capacity of over 3,400 MW.

Only one wind power station is owned by national power utility Eskom (the Sere Wind Farm near Vredendal in the Western Cape), which contributes roughly 105 MW of electricity to the grid.

The rest of the 3,295MW is owned by independent power producers (IPPs).

MyBroadband estimates that there are currently between 1,148 and 1,722 turbines in the country, mostly concentrated in the country’s Cape provinces, which are typically windier than other provinces.

According to Sustainable Energy Africa, going green saves consumers money, with electricity generated by wind typically costing 40% less per kilowatt-hour than the cost of electricity generated from Eskom’s coal-fired power stations.

Among other benefits, Sustainable Energy Africa says that the switch to wind energy allows communities to “enjoy significant economic development benefits such as job creation and contributions to socio-economic development.”

Read: Bless the winds in South Africa

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