Coega IDZ (industrial development zone), South Africa © Electrawinds

While the established markets in North Africa took the year off – the ‘Arab Spring’ put a damper on all industrial development in the region – the big story was Cape Verde’s 23 MW plant coming on line, as the first stage in the government’s plan to raise the share of wind energy production to 25% by 2012 and eventually to 50% by 2020. The other big story in Africa in 2011 was the announcement on 7 December of the preferred bidders for the first round in South Africa’s ‘ReBid’ programme. Wind energy garnered 630 MW in the first round out of a total of 1,450 MW of renewable power, and is set to be awarded another 1,200 MW or so in the remaining rounds which will be announced during the course of 2012; and this is just the first round of bidding under South Africa’s long range plan which envisages more than 8,000 MW of wind energy by 2030.

If successful, the establishment of the wind industry in South Africa could be a regional manufacturing and supply hub, not only for the projects in Ethiopia and Kenya which are expected to come on line in 2012, but for others in Tanzania, Namibia and elsewhere further down the line.

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