There is a global drive towards designing and using towards lower carbon energy systems. Considering all these factors and the fact that solar energy is renewable, it makes sense for South Africa to plan to spend GBP18.42bn on a Concentrating Solar Power plant
A lot has been said about the comparatively high initial capital cost associated with concentrated solar energy systems. This has scared investors in that section of the energy sector.
South Africa’s energy mix is dominated by coal, which is characterized by a lot of carbon and noxious emissions during combustion. Besides, coal reserves are finite and would get consumed one day.
Currently, there is a global drive towards designing and utilizing lower carbon energy systems. Considering all these factors and the fact that solar energy is renewable, it makes sense for South Africa to put in place plans to spend GBP18.42bn on a solar power plant.
This plan would give further credence to South Africa’s Integrated Resources Planning 2 (currently being debated publicly), which seeks inter alia to halve coal in the electricity mix; in favour of nuclear power, power from renewables and hydropower.
Due to late planning and other factors, South Africa has been experiencing electricity browning and blackouts for some time now. Again, for a country which is building a lot houses to address a serious housing backlog, domestic demand for electricity is bound to increase tremendously (considering almost two decades of intensive household electrification programme in the country).
The latter means that more sources of electricity have to be found to meet the increasing demand from the domestic sector, which is also responsible for the electricity peaks. Taking all the above into consideration, South Africa needs to be applauded for biting the bullet with plans to build the world’s biggest solar power plant.
It hoped that other countries with relatively high solar insulation will emulate this example.