As a tax-paying citizen you automatically feel as if you should be receiving the best from your government. This makes sense…does it not? But let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment – what government doesn’t hide some kind of corruption? In South Africa we have Eskom, the dictating factor of energy availability. To make things worse, municipalities are heavily dependent on this dictator, which means we are at the losing end of the field. Now the question becomes, is Eskom blatantly trying to prevent renewable energy sources to thrive in South Africa?
Very recently the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association released an article in which they blame Eskom for the drawn out process concerning the REIPPP (Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers) program. In fact, the projects have reached a possible shut-down point if government and Eskom keep delaying very important matters. As it stands the projects are in round 4, which is also the most crucial round for getting foreign investors involved. So much interest has been lost already, one has to wonder whether the program is worth saving. Not only is the initial investment towards the first rounds of the program (R1.9 billion) a complete waste, but thousands of jobs have already been lost.
What makes this accusation so viable is the fact that everything was running quite smoothly up until the last moments. Where the program was ahead of schedule, things suddenly took a turn for the worst. This does present quite a strange scenario, seeing as both Eskom and the government stand to lose a lot of money. We are talking about a long-term loss they won’t be able to recoup, making the R1.9 billion investment seem like small change.
Meanwhile, Britain has just recorded a very big highlight in the history of renewable energy. Within the last six months, the country has generated more solar power than coal power. Even though it’s a feat that can’t last at this point in time, it’s good to know the initiative to grow still exists. This looks like a country that’s focused at really promoting alternative energy sources, despite the lack of sunshine. At the other end of the spectrum South Africa presents the perfect climate for solar power, but we are too tied up in power hungry politicians.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait for Eskom to get off its ass and do something. You can take the initiative and make your home a solar palace. If you do it right you never have to acknowledge Eskom as the energy dictator again. From solar geysers and lights to off-the-grid arrays, your options for moving past government problems are right in front of you. You just have to embrace it.
Whether Eskom and the government are sabotaging projects that are vital to our future, or it’s just bad service delivery, we’ll probably never know. What we do know is that change has to start somewhere, so it might as well be at home.