Wind Power and Its Sustainability in South Africa

Essay details

Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Advantages of Wind Power
  • Disadvantages and Drawbacks of Wind Power
  • Conclusion and Evaluation


South Africa is currently going through an energy crisis. At the moment, the dominant source of power made available to South Africans is generated by burning coal. Coal is a non-renewable resource meaning that it cannot be replaced once it has been diminished. Presently our coal is under an immense threat of being depleted. When coal is burned, harmful greenhouse gasses are released damaging the ozone layer. We need to come up with a clean and economically viable alternative to provide the country with healthy electricity and to reduce our carbon footprint. I will be researching the feasibility and sustainability of wind power for South Africa. As well as finding out the impact that wind power has on the environment, taking into account its advantages and disadvantages relating specifically to South Africa. Wind, flowing in the atmosphere is captured by the turning turbines mounted on top of a steel, tubular, tower and is converted into mechanical energy. The mechanical energy is then turned into electricity. Wind turbines generally have three blades and range in size. The size varies according to the demanded amount of power needed. Some turbines weigh over 400tons each. The bigger the turbine the more power it can generate and the higher the wind speed, the more electricity can be created.

Essay due? We'll write it for you!

Any subject

Min. 3-hour delivery

Pay if satisfied

Get your price

Advantages of Wind Power

With wind power, there are many different advantages and disadvantages to be considered. Wind power is the most cost-efficient source of power. Though the initial installation cost is rather pricey, it is almost free thereafter. No one has to pay for the wind that circulates our atmosphere. The only costs involved are those of maintenance which are considerably low. Installation costs have also reduced in the recent years as a result of the advances in technology. The most important advantage, for me, is that wind power emits little to no greenhouse gasses and thus dramatically reduces the carbon footprint affecting the earth. This also means that our air and water does not get as badly polluted, making it safer and healthier for all to breathe and drink. Another reason why wind power is such a good alternate power source is because it is an inexhaustible resource. What is meant by this is that supplies will never run out or run low. Some people may want to argue though, that wind power is an inconsistent and unreliable source of power as the wind does not blow all the time. This is an important factor to consider but thanks to the advancement in technology, batteries that can store energy have been invented. When there is a surplus in the power produced by the wind turbines, the batteries will automatically be charged. These batteries can then be used for times when there is a power deficit.

With regard to the installation of the turbines, less space is required in comparison to other alternative power sources. Jobs are also created; however, they are usually only temporary. The installation of the turbines is fairly labour intensive but because of the low maintenance required, many people often lose their jobs after the initial installation has been completed.

Disadvantages and Drawbacks of Wind Power

Even though this source of power has many benefits, there are unfortunately some downfalls that we have to take into account. Firstly, the most concerning factor is the effect that it has on the wildlife. The turbines pose a threat to the birds and the bats. Often these precious animals do not realize the danger of the turbines and accidently fly into them. This can result in injury or even death. Some research though, shows that birds and bats are more active when the wind does not blow too much. Owners of wind farms could keep the turbines stationary when the wind speed is low, this way protecting the wildlife.

Another concerning disadvantage is that people say that the turbines ruin the aesthetics of a place. The turbines are rather large and are visible from very far away. I think that in this day and age, with the future of the Earth at immense risk, we should be able to put ourselves aside and think about what is best for the environment. The noise that these turbines create is another aspect that people are concerned about and needs to be taken into consideration when determining the location of these turbines.

A South African Wind Energy Programme has been set up and is doing intensive research into the feasibility and sustainability of wind power. Due to our current economic crisis, South Africa has requested international assistance to get this initiative off the ground.

According to statistics released by the Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme to Parliament, only 8.5% of the electricity used in South Africa is generated by wind turbines while the remaining 91.5% of electricity usage comes from burning fossil fuels. This is an alarming fact considering that we have a very long coast line in relation to the size of our country with an abundance of free offshore winds.

Conclusion and Evaluation

In conclusion, wind power is sustainable in South Africa. We have the space for wind farms, the necessary winds as well as the man power, knowledge and technology. However, at this point in time and due to our current economic situation, it is not feasible. There is huge potential for the production of wind power in our country. The downfall is that we are a developing, third world country and there are more pressing issues that need to be dealt with before wind power can be prioritised. Therefore, without the help of international funds the production of wind power as our primary source of power will have to be put on h 

Get quality help now

Prof Essil

Verified writer

Proficient in: Environmental Sustainability

4.8 (1570 reviews)
“Really responsive and extremely fast delivery! I have already hired her twice!”

+75 relevant experts are online

More Wind Energy Related Essays

banner clock
Clock is ticking and inspiration doesn't come?
We`ll do boring work for you. No plagiarism guarantee. Deadline from 3 hours.

We use cookies to offer you the best experience. By continuing, we’ll assume you agree with our Cookies policy.