Ed's letter(September)

Spreading your energy bets

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It has never been more essential for South Africa to have a balanced menu of energy options, giving us the ability to avoid load shedding for future generations.

For too long we have relied on coal, and to a lesser degree nuclear as the main source of power, while underplaying our rich renewables hand, and only scratching the surface of gas demand.

Speaking of which, many Captonians will attest to major head scratching last week, when there was no gas available. With lots of families moving over to gas for cooking this poor planning must come to an end. Apparently the supply ship had docked in Cape Town harbour from Mossel Bay, but had not reached the gas outlets in Cape Town.

We are really living in third world conditions having to queue for gas, and hopefully plans for new gas facilities will curb the annual winter shortages. Speaking of supply, the coal supply to our power stations needs to improve in the short term, as that appears to be a major source of the load shedding. We have some of the best logistics companies in the world and a near dormant rail network; this should really not be an issue. The main issue is that coal is a dirty, outdated option.

On one hand you are destroying the earth, and then on the other hand you are destroying the atmosphere, by blocking out our main energy source, the sun. Well done to our countries’ planners for backing that three-legged horse.

With Windaba around the corner, wind is, and has become a viable alternative. There have been some shining success stories of taking entire towns off the grid with wind farms. The downside of wind is the maintenance of the turbines and general wear and tear. The good thing is the wear and tear is on the machinery and not the environment, which is the main downside of coal.

The renewables sector offers a lot of hope for South Africans for a cleaner future, and greater job creation. With solar getting cheaper for the man in the street, and new gas finds off the west coast, and with wind taking sail we are finally moving towards a balanced menu of energy.

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