Pretoria – South Africa saved R4 billion ($310 million) in fuel and by avoiding blackouts in the first half of 2015 due to renewable-energy projects, according to a study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
From January to June, 800 megawatts of wind and 1 gigawatt of solar photovoltaic power-generation saved about 3.6 billion rand in diesel and coal-fuel costs, according to the Pretoria- based center.
During 15 days in the period, renewables either prevented or limited rolling blackouts, the study showed.
South Africa’s state-owned power company Eskom Holdings has imposed rolling blackouts almost every other day this year as it struggles to meet demand. The government’s five-round program of clean-energy tenders has awarded more than 5 000 megawatts of projects since 2011.
With renewable power saving about 200 hours of unserved energy and fuel, it generated as much as R4 billion more in financial benefits than it cost, according to the study.
The financial benefit in 2014 was R800 million after costs, the CSIR said in an earlier study. The weighted average tariffs paid for new wind and photovoltaic projects have decreased.
The CSIR has developed a methodology “to determine whether at any given hour of the year, renewables have replaced coal or diesel generators or whether they have even prevented so-called ‘unserved energy’,” Tobias Bischof-Niemz, who heads up its energy center, said in a statement.