The Future of Energy in South Africa

South Africa’s electricity problem has become global news, some have even turned it into a global joke. There is evidently a crisis here…for the past decade, the South African government has attempted to find a lasting solution to the energy crises by prompting Eskom to produce more electricity to meet the domestic, commercial and industrial demand for energy. This has failed. Would it then not make better sense to turn to alternative suppliers of energy to ease the burden on ESKOM? This is what first-world countries are doing;

The United States used about 30 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of Natural Gas in 2018, the equivalent of 31 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) and 31% of total U.S. primary energy consumptionU.S Energy Information Administration

The United States uses Natural Gas across all major sectors namely; residential; commercial; industrial and transport. Natural Gas is evidently a key player in the domestic and economic success of the U.S.

Coal has been the primary generator of electricity in South Africa, but once again, we see a different trend from the U.S. The electric power sector uses Natural Gas to generate electricity. In 2018, the electric power sector accounted for about 35% of total U.S. Natural Gas consumption, and Natural Gas was the source of about 29% of the U.S. electric power sector’s primary energy consumption.

Dissimilar to South Africa, the U.S produces enough electricity to supply the entire country without fail, with other sectors also independently cable to produce the electricity they require using Natural Gas.

Why Not Natural Gas for energy?

The recent discoveries of Natural Gas reserves in Africa make the conversion and integration of Natural Gas to South Africa’s energy landscape an even more probable option. There is an abundance of Natural Gas, enough to outlive anyone alive today. The immediate solution is not to completely do away with coal, but rather to use Natural Gas in assisting in meeting the heavy demand ESKOM faces. From domestic, commercial, industrial and even to generate the electricity itself, Natural Gas is the answer. This is particularly crucial; looking at the Carbon Tax bill, the Long term use of coal is not an option.

Here are a few advantages in using Natural Gas:

  • Natural Gas is more environmentally friendly than oil or coal. It is largely because it has only one carbon and hence, produces fewer emissions. It is a known fact that for the same amount of heat it emits 30% less carbon dioxide than burning oil and 45% less carbon dioxide than burning coal.
  • Natural Gas is cost-effective. Because it is not extracted from crude oil it does not increase with petrol prices, this makes it a reliable and inexpensive option.
  • Natural Gas equipment requires less intense maintenance, making it less expensive to keep up than coal equipment. This is great long-term savings.

The virtual reality of Natural Gas

The biggest debate on converting to Natural Gas has been the lack of infrastructure in South Africa. CNG Holdings, through its division, the Virtual Gas Network, introduced a simple and reliable way to access Natural Gas, even in areas that do not have the traditional Natural Gas infrastructure!

The Virtual Gas Network supplies compressed Natural Gas through a Virtual Gas distribution network. Through the companies innovative modular road transport system, the Virtual Gas Network can safely and economically transport Natural Gas to refuelling stations, gas distribution networks, industries, power generation systems, as well as to customers who are not on an existing gas pipeline. There is absolutely no reason not to follow the lead of world-class countries!

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