Renewable Energy = Affordable Living.
Nobody likes to spend more money than they earn, especially when living costs are skyrocketing. However, the fact is that in many parts of South Africa, even affording the essentials such as rent and electricity is becoming near impossible for many. Even if you earn more than R 20,000 a month, you may get a shock when reading your utility bills.
Despite recent power cuts, Nersa, the national energy regulator, approved a 2.2% price increase from Eskom. This is less than half the current rate of inflation, but wage growth is far below that amount. Interrupted electricity supplies are one of many problems households across the country experience, but is there another way?
At the time of writing, around two-thirds of energy generated in South Africa comes from coal. Oil is the second biggest source of electricity, albeit a long way behind coal. Both coal and oil are finite resources, something that is being reflected in the monthly electricity bills of many South Africans.
This is the case in many other countries too. According to research by Tilney, UK households in the top 25% of earners would spend over £50,000 (approximately R 850,000 combined on gas and electricity from the age of 40 onwards. That amount could be drastically reduced with a shift towards clean, renewable energy.
In the UK, there are a handful of offshore wind turbine farms, as well as the occasional hydroelectric project. South Africa is slowly but surely following the green path too, with there being huge potential for the generation of solar power.
The use of solar power, given how much sunlight the South African climate has per year, would greatly reduce reliance on coal, oil and other non-renewables. For the time being, consumers are being asked to remain patient by some energy suppliers as they grapple with improving the reliability of electricity supplies.
To ensure you are not caught out by any future power outages, there are a few precautions to take that can also save money. Only using some appliances when they are needed is a start – ovens, washing machines and television sets can all use a surprisingly high amount of electricity.
Thinking carefully about what energy you can use should make a small dent in your utility bills. A move towards green technology is likely to see those bills shrink further. Better yet, generating your own electricity with a personal solar panel could act as a long-term alternative to power cuts.