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SA joins Global Wind Day celebrations

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Kouga Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape.
Kouga Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape.

South Africa has joined countries across the globe to celebrate Global Wind Day 2017.

This worldwide event, which occurs annually on 15 June, is a day for re-considering wind and the power it holds to reshape our energy systems, decarbonise the economy and boost jobs and growth.

The European Wind Power Association and the Global Wind Power Council coordinate the Global Wind Day through a network of partners. The day started as a European one in 2007 and went global in 2009.

In more than 80 countries worldwide, wind farms generate clean and renewable power, and SA is no exception. From the shores of the Western Cape, across the Eastern and Northern Cape, to the Northern borders of SA, wind farms are producing power, creating local value and building futures, says the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA).

It notes that since the first Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer programme started commercial operation at the end of 2013, 15 220GWh have been generated, reducing carbon emissions by 15.4 metric tonnes. Of this, wind projects have contributed 7 603GWh, reducing carbon emissions by 7.7 metric tonnes.

"Our industry can be proud, not only of the clean, green, renewable power that we are putting into the national grid, but for what we are contributing to communities across rural South Africa," says Brenda Martin, CEO of SAWEA.

In just three years, she notes, SA has become the largest wind power producer on the continent, generating 1.4 gigawatts from 600+ wind turbines. Wind power avoids the power-related use of water by around 600 million litres each year.

According to SAWEA, through the South African government-led Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REI4P), over the past four years, wind power has been directly supporting broader socio-economic objectives, including thousands of jobs for local youth and women.

While the programme implementation has been delayed for the past two years, due to an impasse with Eskom, this initial developmental impact can grow exponentially, once the outstanding power purchase agreements are signed, the wind body says.

"Among the delayed projects, approximately R7 billion has been legally committed for socio-economic development by wind farms alone," concludes Martin.

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