Frequently Asked Questions

Why a wind energy campaign in South Africa?

The wind energy campaign, rolled out by the South African Ministry of Energy in conjunction with Embassy of Denmark in SA aims to create all-important awareness on the importance of wind within in the context of the SA economy and its available resources.

Additionally, the campaign endeavours to dispel any misconceptions around wind such as its impact on the environment, reliability, safety and influence on the weather and climate.

Importantly, the campaign aims to educate the South African population and particularly targeted groups on the positive impact of wind not only as a renewable energy source but also as a source of job creation within a potentially lucrative industry sector.

Who/which parties conceptualised the campaign?

The campaign was conceptualised following an agreement by the previous South African Minister of Energy, Dipuo Peters and the then Danish Ambassador to South Africa, Dan E Frederiksen at the 2010 Second Annual Wind Seminar.

The campaign has been developed by the Department of Energy together with Danish Embassy and their respective suppliers and consultants.

Why is wind a feasible renewable energy option in South Africa?

Large parts of South Africa’s coastal land, as well as various areas inland, have an economically viable source of wind energy. Furthermore, the scale and maturity of the global wind industry have made it a cost-competitive energy option, compared not just to other renewable technologies but also many fuel-based technologies.

Also with significant local content, these technologies can also raise the employment intensity of the electricity generation sector.

How safe is wind energy?

Wind energy is one of the safest energy technologies during the normal operation of the wind turbine. Some 40 fatalities have been recorded from 1970 to 2011 which occurred during construction, operation, and maintenance of wind turbines.

What happens when the wind stops blowing?

The national grid system is designed to cope with power plants going offline. The system will not notice the shut-down of a 2 MW wind turbine. It will have to respond to the shut-down of a 500 MW coal fired plant or a 1,000 MW nuclear plant instantly.

However, careful planning should be applied to ensure that the wind turbines cover different wind regimes to ensure there is always some wind turbines in operation.

What is WASA?

The Department of Energy’s Wind Atlas for South Africa (WASA) is co- funded by the UNDP-GEF’s South African Wind Energy Programme (SAWEP) and the Embassy of Denmark. Last year WASA launched South Africa’s first Verified Numerical Wind Atlas (VNWA)

The VNWA effectively enables prospective wind farm developers of all sizes to obtain free modelled wind measurement data which is verified with physical wind measurements and can be used together with commercial wind resource software to determine the viability of developing a wind farm.

Data is available at http://wasadata.csir.co.za/wasa1/WASAData

What is smart tagging?

The South African Wind Energy Awarenes Campaign has introduced a new and innovative digital arm dubbed smart tagging.

The smart tagging concept in essence enables all South Africans with smart phones (a cell phone with a camera and Internet) to gain access to the myriad of digital, interactive and current information developed around wind energy in South Africa.

It enables people to scan a tag code/barcode via a downloaded tag reader application onto their phones. It then takes a few easy steps to gain access to this exciting, digitised versions of the developed materials.