Eskom owns and operates the 360MW Gariep hydroelectricity scheme .
comment in November ) calls for 55GW of renewable energy capacity to be installed between 2020 and 2050 .
However , market commentators believe that despite investor appetite for projects in the water sector , the number of solar and wind projects in South Africa outstrips water projects . And while hydropower in South Africa has not been exploited to its full potential , it is expected that the majority of hydropower projects in South Africa will be carried out on a smaller scale due to the country ’ s available water resources .
Few sites remain
This largely concurs with a report in the Hydropower & Dams World Atlas 2016 , which notes that , in recent years , dam construction has slowed down in South Africa , with emphasis changing to optimising the use of existing resources .
“ Few suitable sites remain . However , several water resources development projects could still proceed , including the Mzimvubu Water Project in the Eastern Cape , which would involve the construction of the Ntabelanga Dam , on the Itsitsa River ,” says the report .
“ Another scheme in the planning phase is Mkomazi , in KwaZulu-Natal , which includes the construction of the Smithfield Dam . Other possible schemes would be the Vioolsdrift Dam ( within Namibia ), on the Lower Orange River , in the Northern Cape , and the Nwamitwa Dam , on the Groot Letaba River , in the north of the country , both for water supply .”
According to the latest figures quoted by the Hydropower & Dams World Atlas 2016 , the gross theoretical hydro capacity of South Africa is 73 000GWh per year , while the technically feasible capacity is 14 000GWh per year . The country ’ s economically feasible hydro capacity is 47 000GWh per year .
“ Of the technically feasible potential , about 90 % has been developed so far
22 Water Sewage & Effluent January / February 2017