23 April 2007
Canadian-based energy company Finavera Renewables has committed more than US$ 40-million to build a 20-megawatt wave-energy power plant off the coast of South Africa over the next five years.
Finavera Renewables chief executive Jason Bak made the commitment at the annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) conference in New York late last year. Organisations are asked to generate innovative solutions to limit some of the world’s pressing problems as part of their commitment.
The company stated last week that they had completed the initial site evaluation and selection process, identifying two sites off the western coast of South Africa.
“This project represents our commitment to reduce energy poverty in South Africa and develop a clean source of renewable energy in the country. The site selection report confirms the strong wave resource off the coast of South Africa and identifies two areas for potential development,” he said.
“Further work needs to be carried out before a final site selection is made, but we are well on our way to making this project a reality.”
“A more sustainable energy model”
According to the company, Southern Africa suffers from intermittent power disruptions as demand outstrips supply, and a serious power crisis is expected if investments in new energy projects are not made
With South African energy demand projected to double over the next 10 years, the government has made a commitment to satisfy a portion of that demand with clean energy sources.
“This type of project will help address the electricity needs of South Africa, parts of which are plagued by brownouts, and create a more sustainable energy model for developing countries,” said Bak.
The project will generate more than 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, save $2-million per year in fuel and avoid approximately 4 000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
In addition, the company said that a percentage of the return from the project will be used to alleviate energy poverty and will provide economic benefits to local communities through the creation of jobs.