Remote potential studied


The potential for supplying remote villages in South Africa with electricity from wind energy is currently the subject of a feasibility study being conducted by Dutch engineering consultants ABT of Arnhem. The study, due to report in April, is backed by the Dutch economic affairs ministry and the South African National Utility Company, says ABT's Tony van Engelen. "South Africa has an enormous wind potential in areas along the coastal belt and has many rural settlements which are too far from the grid to make grid connection economically viable," he says. Small wind turbines for supply of basic energy needs could be the answer, either as stand alone units or in hybrid configurations, adds Van Engelen. He points to schools as obvious beneficiaries. Two Dutch wind turbine manufacturers, Lagerwey and LMW, are participating in the study by supplying expertise and facilities and South Africa's national utility, Eskom, is also part financing it.