An interesting view on renewables in our region

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One hotspot for development is the Western Cape, which planning experts believe could become a significant exporter of renewable energy. The province’s Renewable Energy for the Western Cape strategy has been approved as a white paper and features plans to increase the region’s reliance on renewable energy to 15% by 2014. The West Cape’s current electricity demand is around 4000MW, making this target achievable with only 600MW of additional capacity. According to an assessment, the region’s electricity grid can accommodate applications for up to 3000MW of renewable projects and there have been 17 applications for a further 11GW of renewable energy generating capacity, 7GW in the form of proposed wind farms along the West Coast. However, there are concerns that the negotiation of power power purchasing agreements with Eskom could be a potentially fatal stumbling block for many projects.

The slow pace of bureaucracy when it comes to the implementation of renewable energy projects can be seen by the fact that the first renewable energy feed-in-tariffs were first approved in spring 2009, but as of October 2010, Eskom had yet to sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) under the programme. Obstacles of this nature are increasing the attractiveness of off-grid solar power, with Frost & Sullivan recently predicting that this sector will see a CAGR in sub-Saharan Africa of around 10% through to 2015.
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