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South Africa

South Africa

RES enters South African wind market with acquisition of 300MW portfolio

SOUTH AFRICA: Renewables Energy Systems (RES) has announced its first acquisition in the South African wind sector with the purchase of three projects with an estimated capacity of 300MW.

RES: 300MW South African acquisition
RES: 300MW South African acquisition

To handle the projects, which are at an early stage of development, RES has formed a subsidiary, RES Southern Africa. The new company will look at further opportunities in the South African market.

Speaking about the deal, Stephen Balint, Strategy and Communications Director of RES Group, said: "We have identified South Africa as a substantial growth area for our business."

Thomas Riboud, director of RES Southern Africa, added: We expect the South African renewable energy market to be a very challenging environment for developers but we are fully committed to developing these projects and building a substantial portfolio in the region.

Until last year, South Africa was the leader in wind power activity in the sub-Sahara region. Although the country musters a mere 8.4 MW of installed operating capacity, estimates put its onshore potential alone at up to 10 GW.

In 2003, the government set a renewable energy target of 10 TWh by 2013, which would require some 3500 MW of wind.

At the beginning of 2009 it introduced guaranteed premium purchase prices for renewable generation, at rates that had developers scrambling to secure sites.

It seemed to be progressing, until the news in June last year that state utility Eskom will not be able to fulfil its five-year ZAR 385 billion (EUR34 billion) capital expansion plan.

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