As South Africa’s leading wind energy event, Windaba, prepares to open its doors tomorrow (2 November), it is a time for continued action and sustained focus, according to the South African Wind Energy Association’s (SAWEA) CEO, Johan van den Berg. The theme of the conference is ‘Towards 100% renewables’ and much of the discussion will centre around how to make this a reality.
“We have a historic, global agreement at COP21 in Paris setting the scene for complete decarbonisation after 2050,” says Van den Berg. “This is the international context we have to bring home. We are assisted by South Africa’s incredible endowments of wind and solar resources and scientific studies suggesting that the lowest cost energy path for the country is now dominated by these two energy sources. The world has 35 years to figure this out, this year’s Windaba is all about finding out how we will do this in South Africa.”
Each year Windaba, organised in partnership with the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) attracts high calibre speakers from around globe, keen to participate in a market that has grown exponentially in five years – going from 8 installed turbines to more than 550 in the ground, supplying low cost energy to the country’s grid.
Highlights at the event will include:
- A snapshot of California’s ambitious renewable energy ambitions and some lessons learnt along the way by Angelina Galiteva, Founder & Board President at Renewables 100 Policy Institute – California Independent System Operator (CA ISO)
- A view from Cedric Philibert, Senior Analyst International Energy Agency on “Matching variable supply with variable demand: the dynamic future of electricity systems”
- A comprehensive “snapshot of a future South Africa running on 100% renewable energy in all economic sectors – with specific reference to the role of wind energy” by Dr. Tobias Bischof-Niemz, Head of Energy – Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR). This session will offer unprecedented insight into what an unconstrained Integrated Resource Plan 2016 might look like.
The occasion will also see the launch of a Wind Energy Map on SAWEA’s website which shows the location and development stage of all REIPPPP wind energy projects and links through to a page which highlights the Social Economic Development (SED) initiatives that are being carried out with local communities.
Holle Wlokas, PHD candidate at the Energy Research Centre at University of Cape Town, gathered the information for the SED case studies: “It is obvious that the wind industry in South Africa is working with and for communities with care, compassion and creativity. The achievements to date reflect the sincerity of the industry’s commitment to local community development. And if you want to be bold… Only two years into the 20 year-long contracts with government and therefore also local communities, we can suggest that the wind industry, and renewables generally, might socially simply set a new standard in marrying sustainable development with infrastructure development.”
Those involved in the industry are eager to use the forum of Windaba to discuss how the sector can resolve the recent obstacles and restore confidence in the market: “This year’s Windaba comes at a pivotal time in our sector’s development” notes Duncan Ayling, General Manager of Wind Prospect Africa and member of SAWEA. “Whilst there has been turbulence over the first few years of the REIPPPP, the current uncertainty and delay is reaching unprecedented levels. It’s time for the sector to get together to debate this serious situation. Windaba will provide the perfect platform to engage and address this challenge.”
Windaba 2016 will be held from 2-3 November at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) more details and the programme can be found at www.windaba.co.za