South Africa to Start Wind Power Project

Country will build 50 wind turbines

South Africa's state-run power utility Eskom plans to start operating wind turbines this year to boost the supply of electricity, a company spokesman said on Jan. 5. "We are looking at building 50 wind turbines with two megawatts each before the end of this year across the country," Fani Zulu said.

Although he declined to give the cost of the project, he said that it would cost more than the current coal-fired plants. "It is a little more expensive than generating electricity by coal, but by all means, it is a worthwhile cost," Zulu said.

He said that the country, which will host the 2010 World Cup, needs to build new power stations to avert a repeat of the blackouts that crippled the nation last January.

The company said last year it was doubling its spending to 343 billion rands (US$36.3 billion) over the next five years to build new power plants and expand transmission lines.

The beleaguered company has struggled to meet growing demand for electricity and last year was forced to introduce power rationing, which has hurt the economy and especially the critical mining industry.

Eskom generates about 45% of the electricity used on the continent and 95% of the electricity used locally.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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