South Africa and a Renewable Future

Energy is an expensive industry and the way South Africa currently produces electricity is both harmful to the environment and our wallets. Because of this, the President signed into law the Carbon Tax Act No 15 of 2019, which came into effect from 1 June 2019, as announced by the Minister of Finance in the 2019 Budget.

The world is waking up to the need for renewable solutions and using their voices to protest for the health of our planet. It is no longer an option but a direct requirement and demand that people everywhere actively take all necessary steps towards implementing renewable energy. This tax is the initial direction needed for industries to start moving away from fossil fuels and a new beginning for the country and the world.

The primary objective of this carbon tax is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions sustainably and cost-effectively. By being implemented in 3 phases, the tax allows for a smooth transition in adopting cleaner and more efficient technologies and behaviours. The first phase will run from implementation up to December 2022.

In this initial phase, the time for energy users to invest in renewable power systems is now. The move away from coal to renewables is a complicated issue, but from global researchers looking into renewables are confident that the benefits of shifting will make the initial investment well worth it.

The implementation of phase 1 should encourage everyone, including businesses and homeowners, to move away from their reliance on energy sources that emit harmful greenhouse gasses. Investors should also see this initial phase as a valuable opportunity to step into the green energy market and avoid paying for their emissions later.

New studies suggest that renewables will prove more cost-effective by 2050. Investments into renewables could be as much as 50% cheaper once carbon tax costs are factored in. Solar and wind technology both consume far less water than traditional coal methods and are predicted to create many new jobs at varying levels of expertise. From engineers and electricians to installers and technicians, the renewables industry will require all types of skilled and unskilled labour to function properly and run smoothly. The research argues for an immediate revision to our country’s current energy policy, calling for an emphasis on solar and wind technology, which will make renewables the center of our electrical future.

The need for energy is constantly growing as technology advances and more jobs that require a sustained internet connection are created. This growth needs to be carefully managed and maintained. More often, business operations are reliant on a stable internet connection – access to which requires a constant stream of electricity. This means that access to energy is vital to the continued growth of the nation and the economy. Almost every single act of productivity requires energy as an input. The fact is, without electricity powering every industry, the economy would cease to function.

Providing basic access to this vital resource is now more affordable than ever with recent advancements into renewable energy. Making use of the vast energy from the sun will allow the country to comfortably provide energy in an even distribution to all South Africans.

Unfortunately, the adoption of equipment like solar panels might be out of reach for many due to steep upfront costs. Installing energy monitors may be an affordable alternative in the short term. One of the first steps a business or individual can take to start reducing their carbon footprint is of course information. Monitors that can be invaluable in knowing exactly how much electricity you’re using. They can be plugged directly into breaker panels for very specific monitoring and measure energy consumption, patterns and trends to note opportunity areas to reduce energy usage and costs.

Data collected from monitors such as Efergy’s E2 Classic Monitor can be analysed and used to find opportunities to save. Detailed interval energy consumption data makes it possible to see patterns of energy waste that would be impossible to see otherwise. Routines can then be altered and adjusted to save energy and money over time. Direct action can be taken using the detailed information these monitors can provide.

Energy management can be key to the reduction of electricity usage for businesses. For situations where electricity usage needs to be strictly controlled, prepaid electricity meters are a great direct method of reducing consumption. When the meter runs out, no more electricity is available for use until more is purchased.

The large-scale deployment of renewable energy, as well as more consideration and discussion around energy usage, offers the country a cost-effective path to rapid, sustainable and equitable growth. Considering usage and Installing reliable forms of renewable energy to help supplement power in home and business environments should be a top priority for everyone. Every step the country makes towards a green energy future is valuable, no matter the size.