Solar water heaters, or biofuel-powered public buses, or any other low-carbon solution isn’t going to install itself or switch itself on. Without visionary thinkers to champion the cause, without people to plan for business-unusual and craft the regulations that’ll make it easier to implement, Southern Africa’s cities won’t evolve into the energy-smart, carbon-friendly engine rooms that they must become, writes Leonie Joubert.
South Africa’s utility-scale renewable energy programme has opened up the local energy sector to international markets. The success of this funding and procurement model is now tweaking interest in other areas in the local energy sector, and shaping how neighbouring countries might tackle big green-energy projects, writes Leonie Joubert.
If Africa wants to realise its ambitions of a Cape-to-Cairo trade route of bankable renewable energy suppliers, it’s going to need political will that crosses national borders. Last month, the southern continent’s economic bloc SADC announced that it is on track to launch its regional renewable energy strategy next year, writes Leonie Joubert.
Finding ways to cook in Southern Africa informal cityscapes – ways that are safe, reliable, affordable, and low-carbon – means trying low-tech energy efficient methods, municipalities supporting a switch to cleaner fuels, and protecting people from dangerous and cheap paraffin stoves. Science writer Leonie Joubert takes a look.
A former mayor of Bogota famously said that a developed country isn’t one where poor people own cars, it’s one where rich people use public transport. According to local experts, greening up the transport sector in South Africa should focus on efficient, affordable public transport, rather than rolling out privately-owned electric vehicles, writes Leonie Joubert.
South Africa has the only nuclear power station on the continent. Now, the second biggest economy in Africa, and the most carbon polluting, plans to add another six or eight to the fold. But the cost could run into the trillions – larger, even, than the annual national budget, explains SA-based science writer Leonie Joubert.
For many rural Kenyans, it’s too expensive for households to pay to be connected to the national electricity grid. Some communities, who live near the right kinds of rivers are opting for a cheaper, more sustainable option: small scale hydro plants, to power lights, charge mobile phones, and pick up on the airwaves. South Africa-based science writer Leonie Joubert takes a closer look at a thriving model for community development.
South Africa has been in the press for all the wrong reasons. The grid is failing due to lack of upkeep and ‘new build’. There are concerns about corruption and overspending ahead of a massive planned nuclear fleet. And private energy interests are scouting around the water-scarce Karoo for shale gas. What hasn’t had as much media time is the fact that large-scale renewable plants are coming on-stream fast. Local science writer Leonie Joubert takes a closer look.