Sunday, November 7, 2010


South Africa's potential for renewable energy was showcased during the most recent World Cup, but the nation, the largest supplier of coal to Europe's power plants, is itself predominantly reliant on the black rock as a source of energy.
And although the South African government insists the industrialized West bears the bulk of responsibility for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, Africa's largest economy is finally planning to pursue alternative energy projects to ease chronic power shortages and reduce its carbon footprint.
The country could build its first solar power facility next year, eventually adding as much as 5,000 megawatts of clean power to its energy mix, according to the South Africa Department of Energy. Working with the U.S-based Clinton Climate Initiative, the department, which has set its sights on Upington in the sun-drenched Northern Cape province as a potential site for the solar park, will request bids for constructing the facility later this month.
The state-owned utility Eskom and turbine giant Vestas (Pink: VWDRY) are both mulling potential wind projects throughout the country.
South Africa has lagged behind places like would-be geothermal hotbed Kenya and biofuel-focused Ghana in the pursuit of clean energy, largely because of reliance on its ample coal reserves—the cheapest and most abundant fuel source available.
Energy security has been a serious concern in South Africa since the country was plunged into darkness in 2008 amid a strain of its electrical grid that caused sweeping power outages, shutting down major diamond, gold and platinum mines, and forcing electricity rationing.
Image credit: Damien du Toit via Flickr

"Source: EnergyBoom" 

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