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Planning for Large-Scale Wind and Solar Power in South Africa

South Africa hopes to expand its production of wind and solar power (WSP) in the coming decades. This study develops a 10-year database of expected hourly power generation for onshore wind, solar photovoltaic, and concentrating solar power technologies across South Africa. A simple power system model simulates the economic and environmental performance of different WSP spatial deployment strategies in 2040, while ensuring a minimum level of system reliability. The results suggest that explicit optimisation of the location and relative quantities of WSP technologies has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of greenhouse gas abatement compared to more conventional planning approaches. It is estimated that advanced modeling techniques could save South Africa on the order of $100 million per year (present value) by 2040. The data and techniques introduced in this report utilize open source satellite data and software to minimize the cost of analysis.