Leading experts from Vestas, Siemens, Barclays and Green Cape discussed key questions facing this year’s wind energy market, and focused on the key concerns related to continuing the upward trajectory of the country’s wind energy investment plans.
According to the experts, there was a weak link in funding the necessary transmission upgrades and a lack of grid readiness, which was inhibiting an otherwise competent energy development programme. Concerns were also raised over the lack of commitment the government expressed in terms of “set in stone” long-term support for the renewable energy mix.
James Anderson, report authors Wind Energy Update said, “South African wind energy continues to establish itself this year as the Department of Energy and IPP office select preferred bidders for the latest round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP). The experts quoted in the report predict that continuing constraints to grid capacity and a lack of cohesion from government agencies may inhibit progress, but are optimistic for the future of the industry.”
The interviewees in the report agreed to the need for improved incentives in local content and current technology that would help avoid disenchantment with the REIPPP programme.
However, barring all setbacks, Vestas, Siemens, Barclays and Green Cape expressed a strong sense of optimism over the way South Africa has developed a substantial renewable energy portfolio in less than five years. The country currently has 800MW in operational capacity and is rapidly increasing with three more projects, due to enter operation this year.
Bhavtik Vallabhjee, senior investment banker at Barclays Bank believes that South Africa would continue to remain the dominant country for wind and other renewables in the foreseeable future in Africa.