Economy needs a culture of sustainable energy

South Africa’s economy is set for yet another blow following Eskom’s announcement to hike the cost of two of its biggest new power stations by almost R83bn, thereby adding to the utility’s rising multibillion-rand debt. Now more than ever, the investment into sustainable sources of energy is necessary to pave the way forward and to create a culture of sustainable energy in the country.
Cala van der Westhuizen
Cala van der Westhuizen

Affordable, accessible energy

This is according to Cala van der Westhuizen, of Energy Partners, who says that South Africa has seen a 200% increase in electricity tariffs since 2008 and could be looking at 1,000% increase between 2002 and 2020.

“These additional price hikes are likely to result in above-inflation increases in energy prices, making it imperative for South African households and businesses to reduce dependence on the utility.”

He says that with energy technologies becoming more affordable and accessible in the country, business- and homeowners must explore the option of alternative energy.

Financing options available

“Understandably, for most businesses and households excess funds are not available at the moment to invest in energy solutions, but there are many financing options available that could result in a return on investment much sooner than expected.”

Van der Westhuizen says that when selecting and financing a sustainable energy solution, businesses and homeowners must focus on two main aspects. “Firstly, the immediate benefits of this investment, such as uninterrupted power supply – and secondly, the long term benefits – such as financial return on investment.”

Lessening dependency on the grid

People do not always realise that a good sustainable energy solution does not only save money indirectly by allowing an uninterrupted power supply, but should also yield direct financial returns, he explains.

Furthermore, there are home solutions available that can save a household up to 75% on an existing household electricity bill and yield a return on investment of more than 16% once paid off, he says.

“The biggest mistake a company or household can make is to do nothing when there are low-risk solutions available that can be funded creatively and yield financial returns, while lessoning the entity’s dependence on the national energy grid,” concludes Van der Westhuizen