‘Renewable energy key to offset Eskom price hikes’

2009-10-29 06:56

Although renewable energy infrastructure may initially be expensive

to implement, South Africa cannot afford the long-term socioeconomic costs of

not doing so.

This was said yesterday on the first day of a Climate Justice

Conference being held on the Goedgedacht farm outside Malmesbury by activist and

Green Connection founder Liz McDaid.

“If Eskom is allowed to make its own decision about future power

generation given that it is aiming to use very expensive nuclear energy

generation, it will trap the government into an escalating, potentially

unaffordable spending spiral in order for the poor to buy basic goods and

service,” said McDaid.

High electricity tariffs mean price hikes across the board,

perpetuating the poverty problem, which can, and must be solved with renewable

energy, said McDaid.

While government has demonstrated commitment to vulnerable South

Africans in largely keeping social grants abreast with the cost of electricity,

economic growth would not reflect in the betterment of lifestyle as more and

more money goes into electrifying houses.

Discrepancies in access to energy between the affluent and the poor

in South Africa led to continued frustrations and hampering of people’s ability

to find employment.

She said South Africans had a perception that ‘clean’ energy from

renewable sources could supply the relatively low energy requirements of the

poor, but there was an aspiration to “get onto the grid” to extract greater

amounts of electricity in keeping with middle-class consumer expectations.

However, she said middle-class levels of power consumption needed

to be revolutionised, and if the country invested significantly in clean energy

now, the long-term costs would be less expensive.

“The rich must aspire to a low carbon economy.”

Christian Au, a climate change consultant doing his PhD on the

integration of developing countries into a global climate regime, used an

animated graph to illustrate South Africa’s dismal performance from 1980 to 2004

in decoupling economic growth from carbon output compared to countries such as

China and India.

Au said that while China had made great strides in mitigating the

effects of energy consumption while uplifting the poor, South Africa needed to

protect the poor, who bear the brunt of climate change, by ensuring they have

access to renewable energy.

“Without economic growth and access to energy the situation of the

poor in South Africa will not improve,” he said. – West Cape News


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.