The renewable energy sector is providing affordable power and energy sources to people and business. Evan Rice, CEO of Green Cape states the cost of renewable energy sources in the country has dropped drastically and are generating a great deal of power into the grid. The cost of solar projects has also dropped by 75% while costs of wind projects has dropped by 60%.
I will submit a parliamentary question to the Western Cape Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, to determine how the Western Cape Government aims to support the development of the renewable energy sector.
The use of wind energy saved the South Africa R1.8 billion in the first half of 2014, a saving greater than the cost of buying fossil fuels to generate energy. This was revealed in a study that was conducted by Tobias Bischoff of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The study also found that the renewable energy sector had contributed R4 billion worth of economic benefits from January to June of 2014. It also saved South Africa 1.4 million tons of carbon emissions. Furthermore, the reports posits that in 2014, energy from first wind and photovoltaic projects saved the power system R3.64 billion in diesel and coal fuel costs.
The Gouda wind farm in the Western Cape, which has the capacity to produce enough energy to supply 200 000 households a year, is but one example of the job-creating economic impact that the renewable energy sector has. Where steel structures have traditionally been used to construct the towers that makes up the wind turbine, the Gouda wind farm is an instance of where concrete towers were utilised instead. The concrete is sourced from South African suppliers, providing a major boost for the local economy as opposed to importing steel towers from elsewhere.
Promoting the local renewable energy sector is crucial in the face of Eskom’s energy instability, which has the power to destabilise growth and development with blackout-uncertainty.
The decentralisation of energy production is key for growth as it provides opportunity for local suppliers, cleaner energy and greater energy security by taking the power out of the hands of the decrepit Eskom.