South Africa's first large scale wind plant has been proposed for a site north of Cape Town. The aim of the 5-10 MW pilot project would be to build up local expertise and know-how and act as a regional show case for wind energy, says the project's proponent, Dutch engineering consultants ABT. Although talks are progressing with parties in South Africa, ABT says low energy prices in the country and a weak local currency are major stumbling blocks. "Western financial aid will be a prerequisite to give large scale wind energy projects a fair chance and to get renewables going in this part of the world," says the company's Tony van Engelen. ABT is to request aid for the project from the Dutch government. "Talks at local and national level shown that in general the South African political climate favours the use of renewable energy as long as it does not lead to energy price hikes for the consumer. This positive political stance will be needed to initiate the necessary incentives in South Africa to start exploiting the vast wind resource which the country has," says Van Engelen.
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