South Africa - The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has come out in support of the recent request by the South African Department of Energy for NERSA (National energy Regulator of South Africa) to licence renewable energy businesses to generate power and feed it into the national grid.
SAWEA says this is a commendable stride by South Africa’s minister of energy adding that this will contribute to further decentralisation and democratisation of the South African electricity sector. The organisation, which is an umbrella body for companies in the wind energy sector in South Africa, also hopes this move will open the market to smaller-scale renewable energy projects with a significant level of local ownership.
“The small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) market has the potential to support the industrialisation efforts stimulated by the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REI4P) and contribute to job creation,” says Ntombifuthi Ntuli, SAWEA Board Member and Research Group Leader: Energy Industry, CSIR Energy Centre.
A recent SAWEA study that investigated the value proposition of distributed generation of renewable energy estimated the job creation potential for wind energy SSEG projects at 207 jobs during 1 year of construction and 127 permanent jobs during operations, for a combined capacity of 50MW projects.
SAWEA also notes that if the wind industry deploys 50MW per annum over a 10-year period, it can create 4 840 jobs. This is over and above the jobs created in the REI4P market segment.
The study also estimated that between 40MW and 75MW per annum could be generated from behind-the-meter grid-tied wind energy projects. It also further postulated that projects rolling in electricity from remote wind energy sites could produce 135MW per annum.
SAWEA believes this level of generation capacity could address the demand gaps created by the stop-start nature of the REI4P and create a certain level of continuity in the renewable energy market.