South Africa has a high energy demand that is rapidly increasing.
We have many energy-hungry industries such as mining and metals
processing which rely on low-cost electricity from coal burning.
It is becoming apparent that traditional energy sources can
no longer meet the power demand this is further highlighted
by Eskom’s recent scheduled blackouts. Fortunately there
is something that can be done. South Africa has huge potential
with regards to renewable energy resources. An increase in
renewable energy technologies will benefit South Africa in
a number of ways:
• Reduction of greenhouse gases
• Increased energy supply i.e. no blackouts
• Employment creation
• Reduction of economic vulnerability to the escalating
costs of imported fuels.
Several renewable resources have the potential to contribute
significantly to South African energy supplies. In particular:
• Solar thermal (for heating), solar thermal electricity
generation and solar photovoltaic electricity generation.
Solar radiation levels in South Africa are amongst the highest
in the world.
• Wind electricity generation.
• Biomass (heating, cooking, electricity and, in particular,
liquid fuels for transport and cleaner cook stoves).
• Hydropower. South Africa is not particularly well
endowed with hydropower potential, but there is potential
to import hydropower & to develop locally significant
• Wave power. This is a new technology, but one from
which South Africa could benefit, as there is an extensive
coast-line with high wave energy potential. Ocean currents,
thermal gradients in the sea, and even ocean grown biomass
could also play a future role.
• Other resources, such as geothermal, may play a lesser