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Massive gains from renewable energy – study

Author: Melanie Gosling

SA’s fledgling renewable energy sector contributed R5.6bn worth of benefits to the country last year, according to a study by the Centre for Social and Industrial Research (CSIR). A Cape Times report says the study, which assessed the financial benefits of renewable energy last year, found that electricity generated by wind and solar power had saved R3.7bn that would otherwise have been spent on diesel and coal. The two renewables replaced 2.2 terawatt hours of electricity that would have been generated by burning diesel and coal. According to the report, there was a second saving of R1.6bn from what the researchers call ‘unserved energy’ – the saving to the economy of avoiding power cuts to some consumers. At certain times, wind- and solar-generated electricity increased generating capacity on the grid and so avoided a certain amount of load shedding, the report states.

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