Coast KZN

02 Nov 2021

SA wind industry joins global commitment to reach net zero targets by 2050

Kristin Engel (Cape Argus: IOL) Picture: ERNST OHLHOFF. Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, between Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp, spans 3 700 hectares and supplies 460 000 MWh of clean, renewable energy a year to the country’s grid. |

Cape Town – In conjunction with the tabling of South Africa’s Climate Change Bill in Parliament on Monday and the manifesto for COP26, which called for wind energy to be a lead contributor to de-carbonisation strategies, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) joined the Global Wind Energy Coalition in urging key stakeholders in South Africa’s energy sector to put policies in place to reach its net zero targets.

Department of  Forestry, Fisheries  and the Environment (DFFE) spokesperson, Albi Modise said the Climate Change Bill was South Africa’s negotiating position for the COP26 meeting taking place this week, key in achieving net zero status.

“The Climate Change Bill provides for a co-ordinated and integrated response by the economy and society to climate change and its impacts. It provides for the effective management of inevitable climate change impacts by enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change,” said Modise.

Modise said the tabling of the Climate Bill in the National Assembly represented an important step forward in the development of the country’s architecture to manage and combat climate change.

In his recent address at the annual Windaba conference, Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) executive director Crispian Olver highlighted that by 2050, a renewables-dominated power system would be the most cost-competitive system for South Africa.

Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, between Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp, spans 3 700 hectares and supplies 460 000 MWh of clean, renewable energy a year to the country’s grid. | ERNST OHLHOFF

However, for the country to reach net zero by 2050, Olver said it needed to speed up deployment of renewable energy capacity.

“Transitioning South Africa’s power system to net-zero will require the deployment of roughly 150GW of wind and solar capacity by 2050. This is almost four times the total capacity of South Africa’s coal power plants today. It represents an investment of around R3 trillion within the next 30 years,” said Olver.

Sawea believed the deployment of wind and other renewable sources of energy would go a long way to enable the necessary de-carbonisation, as set out by the Climate Change Bill, to reach the global net zero by 2050 target.

From the latest CO2 emission targets released by the PCC, Sawea technical programmes officer Letlhogonolo Tsoai said they noted increased commitment from the state to de-carbonise, and acknowledged this commitment as symbolic to mitigating the global climate emergency.