_: South Africa’s renewable energy efforts have reached another important milestone with the launch of the country’s first Large Scale High Resolution (250 m) Wind Resource Map. This map can contribute significantly to fast tracking the development of wind farms as well as to improve government’s access to accurate and verified information on the country’s wind resources.
The data is based on the Verified Numerical Wind Atlas for South Africa – launched by the Deputy Minister of Energy in March 2012 – and includes important information such as: Ground surface terrain effects that determine the local wind climate and in turn can be used for the identification of high-yielding wind development zones Estimation of available wind energy and capacity which can be utilised by prospective wind farm developers of all sizes in their planning process. The Wind Resource Map offers the following important benefits for planners, policy makers and industry:
Cost and timing savings as the viability in terms of wind speed of a potential site can be predicted with known and traceable accuracy Levels the playing field between small or large industry player to identify and develop project sites for wind farms Assists the South African Government in calculating the potential yield of the wind energy resources Identification of potential wind development zones in line with the strategic environmental framework or assessments studies Scheduling of variable wind resources and long-term grid planning.
Minister Ben Martins emphasises that “The Wind Resource Map will be a very useful instrument in the government’s further planning of the efficient use of the country’s wind resources. Also, we expect this new data to serve as an all-important tool in enabling developers to fast-track their own efforts in developing wind farm projects.”
Ambassador René Dinesen highlights: “The Embassy of Denmark is confident that this latest release of high resolution data will further assist the IPPs and the South African authorities with more accurate information, which is of high value for the further planning of the roll out of wind energy projects in South Africa. This data can ensure that the most highly productive project sites in terms of wind speed are identified.”
The Wind Resource Map will also feed into the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (REIPP) Procurement Programme which requires IPPs to comply with various criteria such as environmental, agricultural and social aspects while access to the grid network is facilitated by government. The purpose of the WASA is to: improve knowledge and quality of resource assessment methods and tools, to make available this knowledge and tools free of charge for planning and development of wind farms and off-grid electrification, and lastly, to build capacity of local institutions to do wind resource measurements.
To this end, the Department of Energy officially makes available to the public the wind resource map generated from the Wind Atlas for South Africa (WASA) project for further research, development and planning purposes. We would like to underline that the Wind Resource Map currently covers the Western Cape and parts of the Eastern and Northern Cape provinces.
However, the department is delighted to announce that with the implementation of WASA Phase 2 this financial year, the WASA project will be expanded to also cover KwaZulu-Natal, the remaining parts of the Eastern Cape and parts of the Free State provinces. The department wishes to express its sincere gratitude to the UNDP-GEF’s South African Wind Energy Programme (SAWEP) and the Embassy of Denmark for the generous sponsorship which made this project possible, as well as to SANEDI (the Implementing Agent) and the various project partners.