South African Wind Energy Association joins global push for Net Zero

October 26, 2021

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has reiterated its commitment to ensure the country’s wind industry aligns with global plans.

Working in collaboration with its global counterparts, as a member and participant in Global Wind Energy Council’s COP26 Working Group, SAWEA joins the Global Wind Energy Coalition in urging key stakeholders, including governments, economies and communities to put policies in place that will raise ambition and remove barriers to the massive scaling up in investments in wind power, in order to reach Net Zero targets.

The manifesto for COP26 calls for wind energy to be a lead contributor to global decarbonisation strategies. The manifesto also calls for a commitment to decommissioning schedules of coal fired power stations. As a signatory to the manifesto, SAWEA has supported that local policy commitments around decommissioning are met in a way that is economically feasible for the local economy, and also for the continued development of the wind sector to be prioritised.

Letlhogonolo Tsoai, Technical Programmes Officer at SAWEA said, “With the latest CO2 emission targets released by the Presidential Climate Commission (PCC), we observe that there is increased commitment from the state to decarbonise, and we acknowledge this commitment as symbolic to mitigating the global climate emergency, the reviewed targets commit to 350-420 Mton CO2e reduction by 2030. In the past 10 years wind energy has contributed to the 60.7 Mton CO2 eq reduction that has been realised by renewables in South Africa. Our role is to safeguard industry’s alignment with the global agenda and to ensure that the manifesto remains representative of our local ambitions, for which we will advocate the necessary policy shifts.”

With reference to the country’s first comprehensive legal framework for climate, namely the Climate Change Bill, and the global Net Zero to 2050 target, SAWEA believes that the deployment of wind and other renewable sources of energy will go a long way to enable the necessary decarbonisation.

Crispian Olver, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) said, “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, requiring significant expansion and upgrades to the transmission and distribution infrastructure. To reach net-zero by 2050, South Africa will need to speed up deployment of renewable energy capacity – a rate of 4GW of renewables will need to be installed every year, which is roughly ten times the current pace of new-build.”

In addition to accelerating the deployment of renewable power, repurposing of retiring coal plants, support for Electric Vehicle manufacturing and export-oriented green hydrogen industry, should all be included in the mitigating efforts.

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