Thursday, October 10, 2013

South Africa will give hydro a chance

There are other renewable energy sources, most notably solar energy, that look like a safer bet to power economy of South Africa in years to come, but despite of this, more obvious choices, hydropower will get a chance to prove its worth in the country.

The rocky terrain of the Green Kalahari, outside Kakamas in the Northern Cape, has become a construction site for the first hydroelectric power plant in South Africa. This hydroelectric power plant will be powered by the flow of the Orange Rive and once operational should provide enough electricity to power up 5,000 homes.

Hydropower is very efficient source of energy and is far more reliable than either solar or wind. The recent studies have showed that Orange river has 70-percent efficiency at all times, which is far more than any solar and wind project could offer.

The Orange river has many waterfalls, and this is only the first one of total of four hydro plants are planned - with other being planned at the Augrabies, Boegoeberg Dam, and the Oranje falls.

Once fully constructed, these four hydroelectric power plants are expected to not only reduce country's dependence on fossil fuels but also to provide a reliable and sustainable electricity source for generations to come.

Hydropower has started attracting plenty of attention in Africa and South Africa is just one of the countries that expect plenty from hydropower in years to come. The much talked about Grand Inga hydro project in the Democratic Republic of Congo with an expected production of 40,000 MW should start with the construction in 2015 ensuring upon its finalization enough power for 500 million African households.