One small adjustment could change South Africa’s electricity deficit. Furthermore, it could create employment. Thereby, addressing two national problems.
One small adjustment by government
One small adjustment by the government could lead to increased employment. Unfortunately, high unemployment in South Africa has increased during COVID-19. According to an article in Engineering News, Daniel Goldstuck outlines an easy solution to rolling blackouts. Importantly, Goldstuck is chairperson of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) Grid Access Working Group.
Moreover, his proposal simply involves a change to a single number. Currently, private generation is limited to 1MW. Additionally, an increase to 10MW will make a difference. Basically, the current 1MW generation level can supply a small shopping mall. Importantly, 10MW can supply a mine or industrial facility.
A simple change
Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy can make this happen. Actually, the extra 9 megawatts will reduce load-shedding by two levels. Furthermore, it will reduce expensive diesel generation. Thus, saving the economy and environment. Obviously, Municipalities and Eskom will worry that their income will be affected. However, load shedding 200MW costs R40 million a week.
Furthermore, Eskom may shed up to stage 8 which will result in zero income. Conversely, renewable energy options will provide opportunities for employment. Plus, job losses at coal station levels will be offset through upskilling for a more sustainable environment. In fact, new skills will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs. Additionally, Municipalities may buy and onsell renewable energy. Thereby, continuing to earn money during blackout periods.
The change could impact on unemployment immediately, effectively, by up to “15 500 site staff, and about 2 000 office-based junior and mid-management jobs,” according to Goldstruck. Moreover, these figures don’t include job creation at the manufacturing and servicing level. Importantly, Goldstruck says “Energy would be available from these plants far sooner than energy from any national procurement program currently under discussion.”
Green energy is the future
Green energy is the future. Furthermore, entire cities in Europe run on renewable power. South Africa has free sunshine, now is the time to use it. Greenpeace began petitioning for it eight years ago.
Meanwhile, this looks promising but none the less remains in government hands.
Importantly, South Africa has enough sun to sustain solar energy. What do you think? Have your say, South Africa.