SO MEDUPI is delayed again and costs have risen again.
We wonder whether the newly appointed energy minister will be able to get Eskom to think outside the box and move away from its fixation on centralised coal and nuclear generation, to the new era of renewable energy.
The R14bn cost overrun is a considerable sum of money. It could go a long way in providing clean water and waterborne sanitation and creating real, constructive (not construction) jobs and multiple opportunities for decentralised renewable energy, including providing a “smart grid”.
But it seems that Eskom persists with its centralised large-scale generation which, it says, will give us a shortfall of 700MW next year. When will Eskom think beyond its centralised coal and nuclear generation?
In 2011 Italy installed 9,000MW of rooftop photovoltaics, financed by private enterprise.
Is it not time for the Department of Energy to “scrap the cap”, provide a feed-in-tariff and allow civil society unlimited opportunity to develop renewable energy in SA ? SA has among the best solar resources in the world.
If the department would lift its bureaucratic controls we could have solar energy feeding into the grid in a matter of months.
This year the Electricity Governance Initiative of SA, a coalition of national civil society organisations, produced its Smart Electricity Planning Report.
The well-researched report clearly shows that with energy efficiency and renewable energy we will not only do away with the need for new nuclear and coal power plants, but will cut costs and increase employment.
We know too that decentralised renewable energy is the only way we can bring electricity to the 2-million rural homesteads that are scattered across our country.
The report shows how we can have a far healthier system for generating our electricity as well as providing more employment.
Bishop Geoff Davies
The Southern African Faith Communities Environment Initiative