The offshore wind sector continues to grow, but some feel that Africa is simply not ready to explore the offshore wind option.
Douglas-Westwood (DWL) released its World Offshore Wind Report 2009-2013 showing significant growth in the industry. The report said that offshore wind will see €21.6 billion of capital expenditure in the coming five year period to 2013 as 6.6 GW of new capacity is installed globally. DWL said, “With just over 1.5 GW of capacity online at present, this represents significant market growth and will lead to an annual capital expenditure of over €6.2bn at peak.”
The company also noted that the UK has the most dominant market in the sector with 3 GW of new capacity forecast to 2013. However, it is expected that the UK will experience mixed results after the temporary boost. Siemens’ General Manager of Renewables for the Middle East Adrian Wood told Alternative Energy Africa that while offshore is increasing; the UK does not have enough land space which makes offshore wind a more viable option. He went on to emphasize that this was not the case for Africa.
And while Africa is seen as under-exploited in many areas, the wind energy sector is one of the leading renewable energies. It is well-advanced compared to other RE sources and has been around for a significant period of time. African countries like Egypt and South Africa are doing well within the wind energy market, but compared to other developed countries, the continent still has a long road ahead. Wood said that before the offshore wind market could get jumpstarted in Africa, its onshore wind needed to increase significantly.
In order to increase this sector, government regulations must be properly implemented to increase investor participation. Egypt has been throwing around the idea of a renewable energy feed-in tariff (FIT) for quite some time. However, an incentive scheme like a FIT has still failed to come to fruition in the North African country. Compagnie du Vent CSP Unit Manager Matthieu Colleter said to Alternative Energy Africa, “Is Egypt ready for a FIT? I don’t think so.”
CEO of El Sewedy Sadek El Sewedy said at the official opening of the SWEG tower manufacturing facility in the Gulf of Suez in Ain Sukhna on March 16 that Egypt would need to enact a FIT system in order to reach Egypt’s goal of generating 7,200 MW of wind energy by 2020 which could create up to 75,000 jobs. And although the Minister of Electricity and the Minister of Trade and Investment were present, neither specified a date or even in-depth discussions about FITs being implemented. Egypt’s Minister of Electricity, Dr. Hassan Younes,rolex air king replica said that while Egypt was currently producing 450 MW of wind energy, the end of May would see a 100-MW increase.
When asked how long it might take Africa to implement offshore wind technology, Wood declined to comment. Despite Wood’s sentiments on offshore wind in Africa, China continues to try to get its hands further in the African investment pot. As announced on Alternative Energy Africa, Chinese firm Longyuan will attempt to overtake Vestas as the top wind turbine manufacturer. The company is looking into wind projects in South Africa, while the Asian country begins to prioritize its offshore wind industry.
If the current Chinese investment ventures in Africa are any indicator, it will only be a matter of time before China begins to carry out feasibility studies to see how it can jump into another African sector that is currently unexploited.
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