Riaan Smit, Eskom’s chief engineer, Network Planning, says on the effect this has had on the renewable energy market: "Taking into account that at one stage South Africa was the cheapest producer of electricity in the world…this is also the "worst" market to enter with more expensive renewable energy. The renewable energy feed-in-tariff is vital to enable the development of the wind industry.”
In a recent survey conducted by the International Quality and Productivity Centre (IQPC), 38.46% of respondents chose South Africa as the country leading the way in wind power development in Africa, whilst 23.08% of respondents chose Egypt.
Egypt, too, has impressive plans for the future, launching its first privately-owned wind farm in 2013 to be situated in the Gulf of Suez. The nation also aims to produce a fifth of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020.
"The Gulf of Suez is an excellent area for wind farms. Several projects are underway to create more wind parks there, which could have capacity of around 2,000 MW" says Mohab Hallouda, a senior energy specialist at the World Bank.
Last month, leaders in the industry from both South Africa and Egypt spoke at IQPC’s Wind Power Development and Implementation conference in Cairo, Egypt.
Delegates attending the event included investors and bankers, there to learn more on how they could attract funds; there were also researchers looking to derive that extra bit of insight from the high calibre of specialised speakers the event attracted.
Lastly, and perhaps very importantly, the event also attracted governmental decision makers and officers who were there to be updated with all the facilities and initiative policies offered in different countries.
The winds of change sure seem to be sweeping Africa with it.
By Isaac Hamza, www.africanbusinessreview.co.za