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Study: South Africa's Cheapest Energy Option is Renewables

The dramatic fall in the cost of supplying power from wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) plants has moved the globalelectricity supply industry beyond a critical “tipping point”, which leading energy scientist Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemzsays is irreversibly altering the operating model, with significant implications for sun-drenched and wind-richSouth Africa.

Instead of renewable energy playing only a modest and supportive role in the future supply mix, research conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Energy Centre shows that, having the bulk of the country’s generation arising from wind and solar is not only technically feasibly, but also the lowest-cost option.

“The notion of baseload is changing,” Bischof-Niemz tellsEngineering News Online. Over a relatively short period, renewables have become cost competitive with alternative new-build options in South Africa, dramatically altering the investment case.

Martin Abegglen

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