SA schools and clinics to generate own energy

Minister Dipuo Peters
Image Credit: The New Age

The South African government’s plans for schools to generate their own electricity are at an advanced stage. This is part of the drive to promote the use of clean energy sources.

It is also an area that has been identified as having potential to contribute towards reducing poverty, mitigating climate change and the improvement of people’s health.

The move is also aimed at imparting skills onto future generations in order for them to make meaningful career choices that will contribute to the country’s development efforts.

The principle: ‘catch them young’ comes to play in these efforts to make schools generate their own power.

These developments were announced by Minister of Energy Dipou Peters (MP) when addressing the 5th Africa Energy Indaba (2013) in Sandton, Gauteng.

“Poor households could flee the poverty trap by reducing their expenditure on fuel. We should assist them in replacing fuel-inefficient and polluting stoves with those with better or lesser energy-combustion properties.

We should consider innovative ideas such making available proven technologies to schools for micro biogas initiatives that could fuel school feeding schemes. Schools, clinics and other public facilities can generate their own power through solar and wind applications suitable to their size.”  Minister of Energy Dipou Peters

She also lamented that Africa suffers from a chronic shortage of appropriately educated and skilled people, particularly in the energy sector and in areas of engineering and science.

“We cannot successfully implement mega projects in the absence of a trained, stable and skilled labour pool. A case in point is the current challenges we face at the Medupi Power Plant construction site, that are mainly due to not having the requisite skills and having to import labour in a sea of unemployment and poverty. Surely this situation must be addressed,” she said.

Ms Peters encouraged stakeholders to continue to fast-track access to modern energy carriers to reduce the time that women and children spend gathering firewood and fetching water, observing that this time could then be geared towards more productive areas such as education.

She added that there was need for energy solutions to address energy access and technology needs of women. This is in line with goal three of the MDGs.

“Across the continent; gender parity and women empowerment are a glass half-full, with poverty remaining feminised and stubbornly persistent – dealing with these challenges remain our focus.” she said.

Professor Mosad Elmissiry, Head of NEPAD’s Energy Programme also emphasised the call on stakeholders to continue to explore opportunities and solutions for Africa’s energy challenges.

“Africa is endowed with rich energy resources and minerals which are underutilised. The purpose of NEPAD’s Energy Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) is to utilise the continent’s enormous energy resources in an optimal economical and sustainable manner so as to improve the living conditions of the African population; particularly for those living in countries that have the lowest access to these resources.”

Written by: Musa Ndlangamandla – Transform SA Ad Sales/Editorial Executive.

Musa is a senior journalist from Swaziland and until January 2012 he was Chief Editor of The Swazi Observer Group of Newspapers. He is a former advisor and speech writer to King Mswati III. Musa studied Law and holds a number of certificates from leading schools of Journalism. He has travelled to over 35 countries on assignment. He also writes as a freelancer for various leading publications.






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