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Eskom Addresses Lower South Coast Members

Lance HarrisonOn Wednesday the 2nd of March 2011, Lance Harrison of Eskom addressed Lower South Coast members of the Association on the all important subject of Energy Efficiency.

Knowing that our members would be interested in the construction aspect, he firstly touched on the Medupi Power Station showing some fantastic slides that impressively conveyed the magnitude of the eight year project. 

He then discussed products and innovations that save on energy usage and ultimately pay for themselves.  Among those mentioned, he spoke of photovoltaic panels, solar water heating, wind turbines and the importance of forward planning. He also made it known that Eskom are continually investigating alternative energy sources with a view towards the future.

In order to emphasise the importance of energy saving initiatives, he kept reverting back to three disturbing realties:

  • Climate change
  • Rising cost of electricity
  • Diminishing capacity.

Concerning climate change he spoke of extreme geographic and weather anomalies as a result of global warming. While there was no denying that coal burning refineries are a major contributor, he did express sound economic reasoning as to why Medupi is absolutely necessary.

Throughout the electricity crises, South Africans have had to endure massive tariff hikes with still more to come. Medupi represents the quickest and most viable method of creating a power generating source, capable of large scale output.  Although environmentally friendlier, alternative solutions are more costly and could not be achieved without putting tremendous strain on the already beleaguered consumer.

As Medupi is scheduled for completion beyond 2015, diminishing capacity is of real concern. Lance took time to explain how the Eskom control room operates and how they are able to gauge with pin point accuracy, availability versus demand.  The outlook is bleak.

With the economy showing signs of recovery along with mines and aluminium smelters having come back on line, the demand for power is ever increasing and prolonged load shedding is a mathematical certainty, predicted for 2012. 

The message is that implementing energy saving measures is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.

Eskom are willing to get behind those who show initiative and will soon be allocating funds to a new incentive, aimed at promoting sustainable energy saving practices.

Ernest Roper | Webmaster

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