The completion of the first wind turbine in Port Elizabeth will ensure that green energy is used to supply power at no cost to the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium during Fifa World Cup games, said Energy Minister Dipuo Peters on Tuesday.
"It is crucial as there were some in our country who criticised the World Bank's decision to grant us the Eskom loan on the grounds that we are not taking renewable energy or green energy seriously as government," Peters said at the launch of the Coega Wind Farm.
She said the project was a "monument of our indefatigable commitment" to renewable energy which would invariably reduce carbon emissions and "deal a cruel blow" to greenhouse gas emissions."
Coega Development Zone
"I am pleased that the Coega Development Zone is one of the few areas that have adopted a renewable energy strategy that they are now implementing.
"We are therefore here to traverse with them in the introduction of this wind farm which will ultimately have a total capacity of 57 megawatts and an annual output of 126 Gigawatt-hours (Gwh)."
Peters said these megawatts constituted about 10% of the Nelson Mandela Bay electricity consumption and had the possibility to power about 80,000 homes with green energy.
She commended Electrawinds, the largest private provider of green energy in Belgium, for taking the responsibility to fund renewable energy development in South Africa.
"As the department, we are currently reviewing our initial target of 10,000 Gwh by 2013 and we will finalise this around September," she said.
Peters said Tuesday's launch demonstrated that the country was effectively dealing with prohibitive impediments, such as the price of coal, which had a direct bearing on increasingly costly electricity prices.
"We have been blessed with abundant coal and therefore it will not be proper for us not to use it and we will do so as we take measures to search for cleaner coal through interventions such as the carbon capture and storage," she said.
"We are currently dealing with this issue through the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum."
The government would continue searching for ways to create an environment conducive for the industry to participate in renewable energy projects. - (Sapa, May 2010)