According to new figures produced by GlobalData, South Africa is the latest country to have been assessed for huge renewable energy potential, particularly for wind energy. It is expected to make significant gains in the coming four years.
Global Data found that over 3GW of wind power is set to come online in the country by 2020, which will bring South Africa's total wind capacity up to an impressive 5.6 GW.
The agency also found that the vast majority of new capacity was added in the past three years. Thirty MW of new capacity came online in 2013, followed by 606 MW the following year and 483 MW in 2015. This compares to 2012, when South Africa had almost no wind energy industry at all, with only 10 MW of installed capacity.
The wind energy market in South Africa is still yet considered to be relatively immature despite these new capacity additions, with vast potential for rapid growth. GlobalData flagged up that it will need a robust system which allows wind speeds to be determined accurately to help plan future developments, installations and the necessary supporting infrastructure for varied wind speeds at different sites.
This investment will help to move the country closer to its climate goals. Last year, it committed to challenging climate targets as part of the COP21 summit, which aims to strike a workable balance between the necessary development of equitable power access and the greenhouse emissions that result from the use of fossil fuels.
South Africa's energy sector is currently the biggest producer of greenhouse gases and emits nearly 250 million tonnes of C02 annually. This is expected to reduce by 6.4 million tonnes by 2020 and a further 12.7 million tonnes in 2025.