Letter to the Editor
Thanks for the recent edition of the ProjectPro eNews. The Zeitz Museum and Silo development in the V&A is quite something and a great tribute to CT and its built environment community.
I read the article about solar energy projects and its costs with interest because the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has several members in that sector. I checked the prices quoted from Bloomberg New Energy Finance in the article, with the Chamber and it appears that the BNEF figures quoted in the eNews article were heavily inflated even in US$ terms. It started with a contract in January 2016 to produce electricity for US$64 per megawatt-hour in India; then a deal in August pegging US$29.10 per megawatt hour in Chile. That’s record-cheap electricity—roughly half the price of competing coal power.
Read the below letter published in November 2016 by the Chamber based on extensive research by Tony Robinson on the latest global costs of solar energy. I hope that this info will be useful and help to destroy the myths spread by Eskom which seems hell bent on continuing to generate electricity at unsustainably high financial and environmental costs.
Below is a letter Janine Myburgh wrote in November 2016 on solar power prices.
Business Day’s recent supplement on renewable energy was so good I took it home for a second and more detailed reading. On Page 27 was a story on Solar Capital, the local firm that has two vast solar farms near De Aar, Northern Cape Province.
Solar Capital, it seems, is now a world success story. What surprised me was that they were one of the losing bidders in the recent Abu Dhabi solar auction. The winner offered solar at 2.42 US cents per kW/h and Solar Capital was in third place with a bid of 2.59 US cents.
At 14 Rand to the Dollar that translates into 36.26 SA cents per kW/h. That is nearly half the lowest bid we have had for solar in SA and it is half Eskom’s average selling price.
Solar Capital is part of Phelan Energy and they have a stake in a South Korean lithium ion battery factory. The thinking is that battery prices are dropping as fast as solar panels and that for an extra 20 % they will include batteries in their solar projects to cover the peaks and offer a 24 hour electricity supply at 44 SA cents per kW/h. That is one quarter of what the UK will pay for electricity from the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station.
When Eskom tells you that renewable energy is expensive they are wrong. Dead wrong.
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