Thursday, August 1, 2013

Map boost for SA wind energy projects


The launch of South Africa's first large scale high resolution Wind Resource Map will help planners, policy makers and industry fast-track wind farm development(Photo: Wind Atlas for South Africa)
South Africa's renewable energy efforts ramped up with the launch of the country's first large-scale high-resolution Wind Resource Map on Wednesday.
The Wind Resource Map would be a vital instrument in government's planning for efficient use of the country's wind resources, Energy Minister Ben Martins said in a statement.
By providing accurate, verified information on South Africa's wind resources, the map would also "serve as an all-important tool in enabling developers to fast-track their own efforts in developing wind farm projects," Martins said.
The map, generated from the Wind Atlas for South Africa project, currently covers the Western Cape and parts of the Eastern and Northern Cape provinces.
It includes information, such as surface terrain effects that determine local wind climates, and estimates of wind speed and capacity, to help prospective wind farm developers identify high-potential zones.
The information promises not only to cut down on development time and costs, but also to help level the playing field between larger and smaller players in the industry.
Denmark's ambassador to South Africa, Rene Dinesen, said the new high-resolution data would be of huge benefit to both the government and independent power producers.
"This data can ensure that the most highly productive project sites in terms of wind speed are identified," Dinesen said.
Denmark is providing financial support to South Africa to invest in wind-based electricity generation, following the signing of an agreement between the two countries in March.