Africa still too dark - Peters

2012-07-19 19:47
Solar panel. (Franklin Reyes, AP)

Solar panel. (Franklin Reyes, AP)

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Johannesburg - Africa needs to move away from being the darkest continent at night, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Thursday.

"There are little sparkles in Africa. There are a few in South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt, but the rest [of Africa] is dark," Peters said at the SA National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) in Johannesburg.

"Sanedi as an entity is responsible for energy research... We should be well positioned to help identify future energy needs. This has been declared the year of energy by the United Nations."

Peters said Sanedi was expected to help the government. She said power pools in South Africa needed to be strengthened, and for this to happen investment was needed.

Sanedi had established a strategic plan, part of which was establishing "smarter" power grids.

"The smarter the grid the better the service... We can deliver."

A smart grid uses technology to gather information about the behaviour of suppliers and consumers, to improve the efficiency and reliability of electricity production and distribution.

Peters urged South Africans to install solar water heaters in their homes, as she had done.

"You will save at least 50% [on your electricity bill]... Install that solar water heater.

"I know people like things for mahala [free]; this is half mahala."

Peters said if one million solar water heaters were installed in South Africa by 2014, the country would save 3000MW.

"Save us from building another coal power plant... Make a personal contribution as a family and as an individual."

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