CONFERENCE TO UNPACK WIND POWER’S ROLE IN DELIVERING ECONOMIC BENEFITS FOR SA
The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has opened its registration platform for WINDABA 2021, unveiling the theme, ‘Renaissance of the Wind Energy Industry – Delivering Economic Benefits for SA’ for this premier sector conference.
The two day event, which returns to the CTICC, after the 2020 hiatus, is scheduled to take place from 7- 8 October 2021. Now in its 10th consecutive year, the event is once again supported by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
Speaking to the theme, SAWEA CEO, Ntombifuthi Ntuli says, “We are celebrating the rebirth of the wind industry this year, hence the theme is aligned with the positive development in the sector. Last year we saw the Ministerial determination for procurement of renewables and other energy technologies being issued, promptly followed by the long awaited Bid Window 5, which was issued this March, after a 7-year internal period. So it is indeed a new season for the sector and the opportunity to deliver on the much anticipated economic benefits for the South African economy.”
The wind industry has come a long way since the launch of South African government’s REIPPP programme and the first bidding window in 2012. During this decade, almost 3.4 GW capacity of wind power has been built, attracting over R80.5 billion investment into the economy. Over 100 wind turbine technicians have been trained and have graduated; 30 000 job years have been created; and beneficiary communities across the country have been empowered.
“Today we have a solid and mature industry that is ready to build an additional 14.4 GW of wind power capacity over the next decade that will constitute a fair share of the country’s total power system, a vision that will be unpacked at WINDABA this year,” added Ntuli.
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is also scheduled for later this year, where world leaders will spotlight Net Zero to 2050 economies. This is a burning issue for South Africa too and will form part of the WINDABA programme.
“We cannot separate wind energy from the climate change narrative since the decommissioning of coal power and deployment of wind and other renewable sources of energy will result in accelerated decarbonisation of the power sector, which benefits both the environment and the economy at large,” expressed Ntuli.
Whilst this year’s conference returns to a physical event, following the 2020 online platform amidst CV-19, it will include certain hybrid elements in anticipation of interrupted international travel.
“We anticipate that international travel might still be somewhat limited, so we have built a hybrid element into WINDABA 2021, which will ensure our international partners and industry experts can still attend,” concluded Ntuli.
Windaba is the flagship industry conference of SAWEA bringing together key stakeholders including professionals, policymakers, academics, government representatives and civil society. It aims to facilitate strengthened partnerships for the on-the-ground implementation of renewable energy projects, to influence energy policy, and provide a framework to aid strategic decision-making.