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Mapping wind resources in South Africa

Risø DTU has produced a detailed map of the wind resources in South Africa showing the best locations for wind turbines and is a prerequisite for funding wind farms.

The wind maps are produced by means of extensive measurements and software programmes developed in the Wind Energy Division at Risø DTU. Similar wind maps are now used in 30 countries around the world including. in Ireland, India, the Faroe Islands, Egypt and China. Right now a map is being prepared for South Africa.

The next step is now being taken as it has been decided where to locate 10 measuring masts along the coast to show the wind conditions at these sites. The 60 m high masts are to transmit data on wind and temperature during 36 months on locations where you would expect a high yield and where the measurements can be compared with the models. Both are necessary input for the verification of models.

Senior Scientist Andrea Hahmann, says: “The masts provide us with information about the wind; we will compare this knowledge with our modelled predictions, also taking into account our knowledge of the terrain and its obstacles, natural as well as man-made. The result is a map showing some red areas for the best suitable wind turbine locations.

"It is more expensive to establish a wind farm than to build a coal-fired power plant, and the banks will not finance a wind farm if you cannot tell how much energy you expect it to get out of it. That’s the way it is, even if you do not have to estimate fuel costs once the wind turbines are there," Andrea continues.

In November and January Risø researchers are visiting South Africa again to organise courses and seminars for the public on their technique and their wind map project. This should allow their results to be included in the development plans for wind energy in South Africa. And hopefully it will be possible to establish wind farms here in 2012.

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