Categories: Wind

by Peter


Categories: Wind

by Peter


Photo: Ørsted UK
  • South Africa now has a first comprehensive assessment of its offshore wind energy resources, following a report by Stellenbosch University academics.
  • The report identifies suitable areas for developing offshore wind farms. 
  • Three of the deep-sea areas could theoretically deliver in all of SA's electricity demand, and much more.
  • Offshore wind tends to be faster than on land, which means that offshore wind farms may be able to generate more energy than land-based wind farms.
  • For more articles, go to

A new study by Stellenbosch University academics found that offshore wind farms could potentially supply all of South Africa’s electricity – more than eight times over.

Gordon Rae and Dr Gareth Erfort from the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering used geographic information system methods to survey the potential of South Africa’s offshore wind energy. Their report, published recently in the Journal of Energy in Southern Africa, is the first comprehensive assessment of South Africa’s offshore wind energy resources.

Their research found the six most suitable regions for the development of offshore wind farms in South Africa: Richards Bay (within the 10 km coastline buffer and approximately 15 km offshore south of Richard Bay), Durban (within the 10 km buffer and approximately 25 km offshore of KwaDukuza) and Struisbaai (within the 10 km buffer zone and approximately 15 km offshore) in the Western Cape.

These spots are outside of protected marine areas.

Source: University of Stellenbosch

“If we were to install wind turbines at different depths off the KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape coast, they could potentially supply approximately 15% and 800% of South Africa’s annual electricity demand,” the researchers found.

If wind turbines were to be installed in these regions’ deep waters (depths less than 1,000m), they could theoretically deliver 2,387.08 terawatt hours (TWh) in electricity every year. Turbines in the shallow waters (depths of less than 50m, closer to the coast) could deliver 44.52 terawatt hours.

South Africa’s annual electricity consumption is slightly less than 300 TWh. This means that – theoretically – deep-water turbines could satisfy the country’s annual electricity demand eight times over.

Wind farms in only the shallow areas, close to coastlines, have the potential to supply 15% of South Africa’s national electricity demand – or power to four million households.

According to the American Geosciences Institute, offshore winds tend to be faster than on land, which means that offshore-wind farms may be able to generate more energy than land-based wind farms. According to the institute, a turbine in 24km/h wind can generate twice as much energy as a turbine in 19km/h wind. Offshore wind is also usually more stable than land wind, which means a more reliable source of energy. 

But Rae and Erfort say that South Africa is still lagging behind in the development of offshore wind energy at a time when there is big growth in Europe and Asia.

“Although the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme was launched in 2011 to procure renewal energy projects, it is yet to exploit or consider the abundance of offshore wind energy resources available.” By tapping into these resources, South Africa could also decrease its carbon emissions significantly, they believe.

Their report, which quantifies these resources, could help to develop the local market for offshore wind energy.

Last year, the Swedish floating windfarm developer Hexicon became one of the first companies to express interest in offshore wind in SA. It launched a new joint venture with a local company to explore the possibility of generating electricity from offshore wind in South Africa.

Hexicon is currently working with Shell to build what could eventually be the world’s first large scale floating wind farm in South Korea.


Subscribe to our free newsletter.

Business Report 1 July 2012. Optimal Energy chief executive Kobus Meiring is a disappointed man. The company is the developer of South Africa’s electric car but it officially closed on Friday with the loss of about 60 jobs. This follows its failure to get further funding from the government and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)...

Related Posts

  • 1ST JUNE 2021 BY: TERENCE CREAMER CREAMER MEDIA EDITOR original article here  Photo by Enertrag   South Africa is identified in a new international report as one of ten countries where training efforts will need to be intensified and accelerated over the coming five years to match the skills demand that will be created during the construction, […]

  • May 18, 2021 Original article here Featured image: Karsten Würth on Unsplash A coalition of industry and academic leaders has developed a new technology to enable circularity for thermoset composites, the material used to make wind turbine blades. The new technology delivers the final step on the journey towards a fully recyclable wind turbine value […]

  • Global wind installation step change required to meet net-zero goal 25TH MARCH 2021 BY: TERENCE CREAMERCREAMER MEDIA EDITOR ARTICLE ENQUIRY      SAVE THIS ARTICLE      EMAIL THIS ARTICLE FONT SIZE: –+ Despite Covid-afflicted 2020 emerging as the best-ever year for global wind-energy installations, a new industry report argues that the rate of yearly deployments will have to more than double before the end […]

  • Upscaling of wind technician training needed to support 14.4 GW roll-out Previous Next Photo by SaretecSouth African Renewable Energy Technology Centre's wind-technician graduates   3RD DECEMBER 2020 BY: TERENCE CREAMERCREAMER MEDIA EDITOR ARTICLE ENQUIRY      SAVE THIS ARTICLE      EMAIL THIS ARTICLE FONT SIZE: –+ The planned growth of South Africa’s wind-energy sector over the coming decade, and beyond, will require a material upscaling of the […]