April 27, 2015
South Africa is currently facing a significant shortage of electricity. Recently, there have been regular periods of “load shedding” or planned power outages. Basically, there is often not enough power to go around, so the power is purposely turned off on a rotating schedule. In the neighborhood where I live and work in Cape Town, the power is regularly turned off for two hours a day or sometimes for four or more hours per day. As you can imagine, these regular power outages are quite disruptive to work and home life and certainly have a negative impact on the economy.
There is a great need for more power sources here in South Africa. Thus, I was quite pleased when I recently drove past a relatively new wind farm near Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa. As the wind turbines spun, I smiled thinking about the power that they are diligently producing. Although wind farms will probably only play a small role in solving South Africa’s energy crisis, every little bit helps. Also, every megawatt of power produced by a wind farm is one less megawatt of power than needs to be produced by “dirtier” carbon emitting power plants, such as coal plants.