Climate Change Impacts on South African Wind Energy Resources
Consideration of the potential risks posed by climate change to the wind energy sector is critical for its development in South Africa. This study determines if future wind speeds might change under two climate change projections by employing climate model data at 0.44°latitude (~45km)×0.44ºlongitude (~50km) resolution. Ensembles of historically modelled winds compare well with observed wind climate, but wind speeds are over-estimated in the southern regions of South Africa. Projected increases in mean daily wind speeds vary, but never exceed six per cent. Wind speeds within a predetermined range appropriate for power generation are projected to increase in the north-eastern region of South Africa. It is concluded that wind power density will remain low in future, which suggests that wind energy may complement energy supply, but is unlikely to become a major contributor to energy in South Africa.