Local wind energy collaboration the South African Wind Energy Programme (SAWEP) is in the final stages of completing the Wind Atlas for South Africa (WASA) Phase 3 project this year, says SAWEP project manager Andre Otto.
SAWEP intends to report on the successes of the WASA project, which began in 2008, with P hase 3 completed at the beginning of this year.
Otto states that the first phase of WASA (WASA 1) began in 2008 and was completed in 2014. WASA 1 focused on taking wind measurements in the Western Cape, and parts of the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.
WASA 2 was implemented from 2014 until 2018, and covered KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and the remaining areas in the Eastern Cape.
WASA 3 began in 2018 and was completed at the beginning of this year, during which wind measurements were taken in the remaining areas of the Northern Cape and the rest of South Africa.
“In WASA 1, we had nine measurement masts. By 2016, we had five more masts in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, and then, for WASA 3, we bought in four masts in the Northern Cape. For the past three years, we’ve had 18 wind measurement masts measuring up to 75% of South Africa’s land area.”
He also emphasises that these measurement masts have been operating for a number of years, which has, consequently, contributed to validating modelling data acquired over an extended period.
“While we don’t have wind measurement masts in some places, such as Mpumalanga and Limpopo, the wind measurement masts we do have cover such a vast area that it’s possible for us to estimate the wind resource in other provinces as well. We can provide a wind resource map for the whole of South Africa, where we have modelling correlation with wind measurements on the ground.”
WASA also partnered with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the South African Weather Service, and the University of Cape Town’s Climate System Analysis Group to form the WASA consortium. The South African National Energy Development Institute is the implementing agent for the WASA project.
Otto adds that WASA can also assist climate researchers, as they can compare their wind measurements with those that have been taken during the project. This information will be published on the WASA website for parties to access after registering.
Otto stresses “the profound impact” that the project has had on research conducted on wind energy in South Africa, as WASA was acknowledged as a significant contributor in the publication of the Integrated Resources Plan 2019.
EDITED BY: ZANDILE MAVUSO
CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR: FEATURES