Saturday, June 12, 2021

Flying with Electric News

This has indeed been a momentous couple of days. After years of struggling to provide enough power to the country from its ancient, creaky and inefficient, poorly maintained coal driven power stations and one equally ancient nuclear facility, the worst power outages in years have forced the government’s arm. Our President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has announced major changes to the Governments renewable energy plans. They will make an amendment to schedule two of the Electricity Regulation Act, which would minimise the red tape for independent power producers. 

We have been stuck in a time warp putting all our energy future into coal fired power stations at a time when coal is running out, is of bad quality and is a global pollution nightmare. 

The announcement has forced the arm of Gwede Mantashe, the dinosaurian Minister of Mineral Resources. He is a trade unionist with a huge belief in the need to use coal as a power source and, we believe, a vested interest. All his actions, for several years, have flown in the face of environmentalists and most governments, who have seen the need to use greener, cleaner power. He admitted, at the press conference in which the President made his important announcement, that he had had his arm twisted. To quote Vrye Weekblad, the Afrikaans weekly: “On Thursday, during Ramaphosa's briefing, he looked slightly sheepish and admitted that the president had “bent his arm in this direction”. Actually, Ramaphosa tore his arm off and slapped him in the face with the bloody side”.

So the lid has been lifted off. Our industries, municipalities and individual property owners have expressed their wish to source their own green power for years. We have abundant wind and sunshine. We have suppliers who have everything needed to provide it; indeed, some of them have been exporting their expertise. Large windmills are already dotted about the countryside and Stellenbosch municipality has already equipped itself to generate its own green power.

The coal powered power stations in the Mpumalanga Highveld have polluted the atmosphere there for many years. Here is a photograph we took at about 11 in the morning in May 2009 en route to the Kruger Park. Lynne who is asthmatic, had trouble breathing.  

We have listened to people complaining about the sight of wind farms and solar panels
Would they prefer this? And enjoy breathing it?

And then, the next day, the news that 51% of South African Airways has been sold to a private South African consortium with extensive experience in running airlines. So no more bureaucratic Marxist control of that failed entity.

So the news is indeed bright and is great news. Suppliers will still need to apply for permits, but we sincerely hope that these are not delayed so that we can get on with our lives and let the country continue to grow. There is a lot of spare renewable energy being produced already and as we have more power cuts, more companies will move to independence from the woeful national electricity supply which is old, keeps breaking down and which will take years to mend. In the time of Covid we need a quick fix to get us back working.

Click here to follow our blogs

Follow us on Facebook
If you would like to purchase a signed print of one of our photographs, please click here
All content in this article is © John & Lynne Ford, MENU

No comments: