Load Shedding is a term we have become familiar with in South Africa. Equally familiar are phrases like: “Experts expect the energy crisis to worsen”, “Eskom wonʼt revise 16% tariff hike”, and “Eskom hike will cause job losses.”

Time frames of when Medupi will be finished vary from 6 months to the year 2021, depending on sources. While we are waiting for the completion of this estimated R105bn coal fired power station, elsewhere wind turbine technology is improving and  moving on apace. One might be tempted to say “with the wind in their sails”.

Wind turbines have traditionally been seen in a bad light. “They are an eyesore, semi efficient, and kill birds.” Slowly but surely these objections are being overcome.

“Research by the Politecnico di Torino in Italy, for example, has found that wind speeds at 800 metres above ground are more than twice as strong than those at ten metres, and has ten times more power”

The result? A whole new generation of of more efficient turbines mounted on an array of tethered “kites” or helium filled balloons. Most of these will be out of direct sight and hopefully higher than most birds fly.

For more information please visit http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31300982

Bertus Van Zyl

Wind Turbine Image Robin Taylor