Renewable Energy in South Africa Essay

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“Is Renewable energy an economically viable option for South Africa?”
“Renewable Energy is a source of energy that is not exhausted when used.”
“Economical means giving good value in relation to the resources used or money spent.”
“Viable means capable of working successfully; feasible.”
(Soanes, Hawker & Elliot et al., 2005)
So in other words, is renewable energy an affordable and successful option for South Africa.

Per year South Africa uses 1.3 % of the world’s total energy. South Africa’s main energy comes from coal, but one quarter of the coal we mine is exported to other countries. In 2009 71.1% of the total energy sources in South Africa were coal and hydroelectric energy had 0,1%. The one major reason hydroelectric energy in South Africa is so low is because this country is a water scarce one, which means that the hydroelectric power stations don’t have enough water to produce electricity efficiently. Eskom produces 95% of the electricity in South Africa and about half the electricity in Africa. Most of the electricity that is produced is from coal, but not all of it, other sources include gas, wind, hydroelectric and nuclear energy.
Renewable energy in South Africa would have effects on our economy because coal demand is shrinking so soon coal mines will close down, new technology may have to be bought or built if the wind and sun energy sources will start to be used, wind farms and solar panel fields will be small whereas coal power stations take up a lot of space.
Wind and solar power are small contributing factors to South Africa’s energy supply, but over the next few years they may become big major energy contributors because we have vast open areas of solar panels and the coastal areas can get really windy which means that wind turbines could soon be placed along the coast, especially the West Coast in South Africa. “Solar power is a clean alternative to both coal and nuclear power.”“The Northern Cape is one of the best places in the world for solar power because it could generate nearly 3000 kWh of electricity per square meter. Experts estimate every year one square kilometer of desert receives the solar energy equivalent of 1.5 million barrels of oil.” (Dilley, Earle, Keats, Nxele, Ravenscroft et al. 2012)

We have vast open areas which could be used more effectively than coal or nuclear power stations and it could be a great tool for South Africa’s development. If solar energy could be harnessed properly South Africa may benefit from it hugely because it is a renewable source of energy and is safe and clean; using solar energy will save tons of coal and billions of water. Solar energy can be Passive or Active; Passive solar energy is when natural materials are used to absorb and hold the solar energy, which need little investment for equipment, whereas technology is used in Active solar energy to convert the energy from the sun into electrical energy. Solar energy does have some disadvantages: the mirror, central...

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