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Journal of Energy in Southern Africa

On-line version ISSN 2413-3051
Print version ISSN 1021-447X


HERBST, Lynette  and  LALK, Jörg. A case study of climate variability effects on wind resources in South Africa. J. energy South. Afr. [online]. 2014, vol.25, n.3, pp.02-10. ISSN 2413-3051.

The wind energy sector is one of the most prominent sectors of the renewable energy industry. However, its dependence on meteorological factors subjects it to climate change. Studies analysing the impact of climate change on wind resources usually only model changes in wind speed. Two elements that have to be calculated in addition to wind speed changes are Annual Energy Production (AEP) and Power Density (PD). This is not only because of the inherent variability between wind speed and wind power generated, but also because of the relative magnitudes of change in energy potentially generated at different areas under varied wind climates. In this study, it was assumed that two separate locations would experience a 10% wind speed increase after McInnes et al. (2010). Given the two locations' different wind speed distributions, a wind speed increase equal in magnitude is not equivalent to similar magnitudes of change in potential energy production in these areas. This paper demonstrates this fact for each of the case studies. It is of general interest to the energy field and is of value since very little literature exists in the Southern African context on climate change- or variability-effects on the (wind) energy sector. Energy output is therefore dependent not only on wind speed, but also wind turbine characteristics. The importance of including wind power curves and wind turbine generator capacity in wind resource analysis is emphasised.

Keywords : wind resource; annual energy production; Calvinia, Alexander Bay.

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