The effect of wind turbine transportation on wind farm development in South Africa

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This thesis investigates the transportation of wind turbines in an emerging wind energy market with a focus on South Africa. The research goal is to understand how the transport and the wind energy sectors interact; as well as how turbine transportation can unfold as a barrier to wind farm development in South Africa. Turbine transportation was found to be a key part of the wind farm development process which has been hampered in South Africa by poor planning, the design of the renewable energy procurement program and low cooperation amongst industry participants. Barriers to wind farm development include a shortage of logistics equipment such as cranes and trailers, a shortage of skilled drivers and crane operators and several embedded bottlenecks in the abnormal load transportation process. These factors combined have resulted in a cost premium of 5 - 10% for the turbine transportation process in South Africa as compared to the cost in larger established wind energy markets. The study additionally finds that the wind energy industry could benefit from better coordination of transport projects through industry bodies such as SAWEA, as the transport system is unlikely to be altered in order to accommodate the needs of the wind energy industry.

Includes bibliographical references.