Despite load shedding being halted in South Africa, this year (2016) due to additional generation plant grids, South African researchers are still hard at work in a bid to find solutions to the power shortage issues plaguing the country, especially in rural areas.
Philani Khumalo, researcher and Electrical Engineering post-graduate student at DUT, said although the problem of load shedding in the country has been curbed, it was essential for the country to research and discover green energy solutions for rural areas. “My study focuses on how the country can generate power in rural areas, even though it focused on one particular area (Kosi Bay). the dynamics of each rural area in South Africa are not unique to the other,” said Khumalo.
He presented his report at the annual Journal of Green Economy and Development Conference which was held in at the Salt Rock Hotel, Dolphin Coast, on Thursday, 14 July 2016. Khumalo’s study aims to implement a pollution free plant with the aim of abolishing load shedding completely which occurs due to lack of generating capacity.
A survey conducted by Khumalo on the current energy crisis in South Africa revealed that the problem began as early as 2007 because Eskom could not meet the energy demand “due to political decisions made by government”. He also said that “government had denied Eskom to increase the generation plants usage in 1998, this being the primary cause to the energy crisis, regardless of Eskom’s increase in the export rate of electricity”. “As the demand for electricity continues to rise, by 2020, this demand will be doubled which will slow growth in generation plant and more than 1000 mega watts will be needed to overcome a power crisis,” said Khumalo.
However, he did reiterate that it was not all doom and gloom for the country, particularly in rural areas; provides that South Africa invests in renewable energy solutions. “On a short term basis, the best solution for this power crisis in rural areas will be a wind solar hybrid system which uses wind and solar over and over again without depleting it. Coal generating plants and other forms of energy generations are not a solution due to emissions and contribution to global warming. Therefore, renewable energy is the answer for the power crisis in the country,” he said.
– Noxolo Memela
Pictured: Philani Khumalo, researcher and DUT Electrical Engineering post-graduate student, delivers his presentation on Green Energy for rural areas in South Africa.