Latest energy mix a 'promising sign', says wind energy association

The South African Wind Energy Association has praised Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe for releasing what it called a "promising" Integrated Resource Plan.

Mantashe released the energy masterplan on Friday after it was approved for promulgation by Cabinet earlier in the week. Upon the release of the IRP, Mantashe told reporters that coal energy was still a significant part of the country’s energy mix, as envisioned by the policy document.

SAWEA CEO Ntombifuthi Ntuli said the association was happy with level of wind energy in the mix, as South Africa transition to a clean energy future.

"With the bulk of the increase coming from renewable sources, it is a promising sign for our country as it faces pressure to reduce its carbon emissions and provide cheaper power," said Ntuli.

Good for economy, jobs

Ntuli said the 14.4GW allocated to wind in the IRP was a positive development for the wind energy sector, the economy and jobs.

"With 14.4 GW of wind having been allocated in the IRP, giving wind energy 18% of the total capacity allocation, the wind industry views the commitment to 1.6 GW per annum as a positive step by government as this allocation will allow Original Equipment Manufacturers and first tier suppliers to commit to local manufacturing of certain components, which contributes directly to job creation," concluded Ntuli.

The IRP itself says the application of annual build limits on renewables does not significantly impact the projected capacity up to the year 2030.

"The application of renewable build limits smooths out the capacity allocations for wind and solar PV, which provides a constant pipeline of projects for investment; this addresses investor confidence," the IRP said.

With demand forecasts and assumptions taken into account, the plan assumes 1000MW for photovoltaic energy and 1600MW for wind per annum.

The plan also says all technologies included in the promulgated IRP 2010–2030, where prices have not come down, like solar and wind, will not be deployed, because the least-cost option only contains solar, wind and gas energy.

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