Financial benefits accrue from renewable energy in 2014

22 January 2015

According to a CSIR study, renewable energy from South Africa’s first wind and solar projects delivered R800-million more in financial benefits for the country in 2014 than it cost.

The study was based on actual hourly production data for the different supply categories of the South African power system, including coal, diesel, wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) energy sources.

The study found that diesel and coal fuel cost savings were R3.7-billion, owing to the generation of 2.2 TWh of wind and solar energy, which replaced the electricity that would have been generated from diesel and coal – 1.07 TWh from diesel-fired open-cycled gas turbines and 1.12 TWh from coal power stations.

CSIR also determined that the economy saved R1.6-billion as a result of the 120 hours of “so-called unserved energy” that was avoided owing to the power generated by wind and solar projects.

Renewables, therefore, contributed total benefits of R5.3-billion, or R2.42/kWh of renewable energy. Further, the tariff payments to independent power producers of the first wind and PV projects were only R4.5-billion – or R2.08/kWh of renewable energy – resulting in a net benefit of R800-million.

CSIR will continue to monitor the fuel-saving and security-of-supply benefits of renewable energy.

By: Sashnee Moodley

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