Renewables put damper on load shedding

load shedding

Cape Town – Had it not been for SA’s renewable energy projects load shedding would have had a higher frequency, according to a study.

For 15 days during the January to June 2015 period load shedding was either avoided entirely, delayed, or a higher stage was prevented through the contribution of wind and solar power, an independent study by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has found.

Energy centre manager at the CSIR, Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, told Fin24 that during those hours the supply situation was so tight that power cuts would have had to be implemented had it not been for renewables.

The Department of Energy in April approved 13 new renewable IPP bids, which means there will now be 79 IPP projects with 5 243MW being added to a national grid desperately in need of power.

The avoidance of load shedding and curtailment translated into a ‘macroeconomic’ financial benefit of R4.6bn to the SA economy.

“This is because 2 TWh (terawatt-hours) of wind and solar replaced electricity that would have been generated from diesel and coal,” Bischof-Niemz said.

Direct cash savings on diesel and fuel costs amounted to a further R3.6bn.

Tariff payments to the independent power producer projects amounted to R4.3bn for the study period, leaving the SA economy with a net benefit of R4bn.

“The financial benefit represents a 10-fold increase on the R800m for 2014, considering that it is only for the first six months of the year,” Bischof-Niemz said.

An additional benefit to the SA economy, said Bischof-Niemz, is that every additional renewable power generator will be approximately 65% cheaper than projects already online.

According to Bloomberg the the price of wind and solar power continues to plummet, and is now on par or cheaper than grid electricity in many areas of the world.

In what has been described as ‘the race for renewable energy’ the world has passed a turning point.

The world is now adding more capacity for renewable energy each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined, the report said.

article source: Fin24