Implementation plan for the Stellenbosch Wave Energy Converter on the South-West Coast of South Africa

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Lack of experience in wave energy conversion locally leads to uncertainty in the implementation process for the Stellenbosch Wave Energy Converter (SWEC), which is the cause of many developmental hindrances in terms of determining cost estimates, the potential site specific environmental impacts and the required permits. Cost estimates based on assumptions of capacity factor, inflation extrapolated component costs, show that with significant learning rates and reduced risk the SWEC may become cost competitive with current prices of wind and solar energy. The establishment of a full array of SWEC devices carries significant threat to coastal process, marine flora and fauna, ecosystem dynamics and functioning. Mitigation is required to be incorporated into the design and layout of the plant particularly to conserve wave energy to drive coastal processes. A considerable number of permits and permissions are required for the Development of the SWEC, with the National Environmental Management Act forming the base for the majority of permitting procedures. Complexity is added through the coastal leasing policy relying on two different Acts, and policy reform is required to encourage the uptake of wave energy conversion technologies in South Africa as current energy policy acts as a barrier to adoption. Expected environmental impacts are ranked, required permits are listed resulting in the formulation of a simple implementation plan.

Includes bibliographical references.