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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Should South Africa really have 426 GW of electricity?

426 GW?


South Africa has about 42 GW of electricity on the grid, but as we all know Eskom can only provide about 75% to 80% of this on a regular basis, so lets say 33.6 GW is available. Eskom and the government say that South Africa's demand is decreasing, but if someone put up your prices from 57 cents per kWh to R1.96 per kWh between 2008 and 2015, you would probably also try to find ways of reducing your consumption! Or perhaps using other cheaper sources of electricity?

With inflation at 5% over this time, prices should be 80 cents per kWh, not R1.96 per kWh. Note that the R1.96 per kWh is the price in the City of Cape Town for a homeowner using 1,200 kWh per month. Prices include VAT.

Worldwide electricity growth is 4% per annum, so over 20 years, 42 GW should have become 84 GW.

But in South Africa, our government has a policy of ensuring that everyone has access to electricity. So if you take someone with no electricity and you give them, or they buy, a kettle and a washing machine and an iron and a hob and an oven and a vacuum cleaner then electricity growth is closer to 6% (or more) and electricity availability should already be closer to 142 GW.

Now the average American uses 3 times as much electricity as the average South African, so this 142 GW should be 426 GW.

Even if I'm a little bit wrong and our inherent demand is actually 100 GW, there is no way that Eskom can ever keep up with build and supply, even if they do their R2,300,000,000,000 (R2.3 trillion) build. And as we know Eskom are always at least 100% over budget and at least 100% behind on time when they build or fix power stations, so we can work on never having the kind of electrical resources we should have.

So why not turn Eskom in the Independent Market System Operator (ISMO), allowing it to continue running its power stations and allowing everyone to become a PROSUMER, someone who produces and consumes electricity and people who can export electricity into the grid when the electricity is needed. In fact private people can buy and sell electricity from and to each other across a nationally owned electricity grid.

(For more about Prosumers and what will happen in our 21st Century economy, read The Zero Marginal Cost Society by Jeremy Rifkin: http://www.thezeromarginalcostsociety.com/)

(The South African government started discussing the ISMO bill back in 1998 when the government created the Energy White Paper of 1998).

(Grids: planes fly across countries using the airway grids; private trains use nationally owned railways in the UK and Europe; cell phone operators use fixed cable grids owned by other multinationals and governments; in Germany, one can buy and sell electricity across the national electricity grid).

For this to happen though, we need 1 million people to support this notion. I thought that if I created a petition, it would help, but it hasn't helped. Sign it now: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/South_African_Government_Level_the_Playing_fields_in_the_Electricity_Industry/?miJGmbb Please.

And there are 600 million people in Africa without electricity. Can you see the potential of finding a sustainable electricity source that doesn't effect the environment?

So what to do? A few years ago I decided that instead of focussing on installations where I could influence 100 people a year, that I would do public speaking where I can influence 100 people at a time, and so that is what I am doing. If you need my help to speak to your company, your community, your board of directors, or to you and your friends, please let me know.

The solutions are at hand. The money is available. The technology is available and a lot cheaper than it was 10 years ago.

IT'S A SOCIAL PROBLEM. We believe that we are free if we are separate, but we are free if we are together, yet with independent thinking and free speech. If only we would work together to solve our really big problems. We have lots of sociologists in South Africa and they need to come to the party.

Looking forward to hearing from you and to creating the kind of environment we can, where everyone has a job and everyone has holidays and everyone is safe and everyone is saved.

PS: Where is the missing 392 GW? (426 - 33.8)

South Africa exports its coal, bauxite, iron ore, gold, platinum, uranium, diamonds, chromium, etc, and other countries use these resources to make electricity and goods, which we then import.

Everything, including the jobs and most of the profits, happens overseas using our resources. And we export things for a pittance and then import them expensively. So our balance of payments is poor and our exchange rate is terrible, when we should actually have one of the strongest exchange rates in the world.

An energy resource: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_consumption

1 comment:

  1. I wrote this in 2012:

    South Africa is very far behind with its electricity provision. We should be at 80 GW at the moment and we have 38 GW. The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010) says that South Africa will have 85 GW by 2030, but in order to secure job growth we need 85 GW by 2020 and 160 GW by 2030. So we are thinking way too small.
    Yet Eskom's expected spend by 2030 is a staggering R2.3 trillion. ie R2,300,000,000,000!
    And this money needs to be borrowed.
    Yet the beauty of renewable energy is that new money is NOT required. All that is required is that homeowners and SMME's commit to spending what they are currently spending on Renewable Energy instead of Coal and Nuclear Energy. ie if you are spending R1,800 per month now, then with RE you can fix your costs at R1,800 per month forever. This is called Solar Leasing.
    However, the Banks and Investment companies continue to protect their large investments in Fossil Fuel because of the very long lead times from project inception till project completion, sometimes 12 years, so if a bank has R250 billion tied up in Coal Power Station Financing, then that Bank doesn't want to lend to small Renewable Energy (RE) power producers because their long term capital might be at risk.
    But in South Africa every single existing power station needs to be rebuilt in the next 30 years, and we are already 40 GW behind with our electricity grid and another 80 GW is required to be built in the next 30 years. So we need 160 GW of new build by 2030. China will add at last 1000 GW to its grid by 2030!.
    The only way this can be done is with distributed RE. And local Banks should be the leaders in Solar Leasing in South Africa.
    The market size is R100 billion per annum and growing.
    It is a no-brainer for banks to lend to homeowners and to secure the investment against their bond and house and RE asset. This will be at no additional cost to the homeowner!