NewsWrap: Looking to clean, green energy solutions

todayMarch 7, 2024 122

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As South Africa continues to be gripped by on-going power outages, its important for us to become solutionist thinkers when we look toward our energy ustainability and greener more environmentally friendly alternatives to generating electricity. The City of Cape Town seems to be working in that direction as it had reported that it embarked on an ambitious journey to secure the city’s energy needs by new clean energy supplies which it aims will alleviate energy poverty. The City says that the metro has a main target of becoming carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2050. The main objective here is to be the first major city in the counry to protect residents from Eskom’s constant power cuts by 2026.

If we look at creative and sustainable ideas brought forward to produce electricity in the country as a whole, a new project is set to see three wind and solar projects be set up which will provide energy to Anglo American’s mines in South Africa. The project is set to generate enough power for several mines with the renewable energy to be transmitted via the national grid.

At the same time…. The Impofu wind farms, to be nestled in the Kouga region of the Eastern Cape have been granted the green light for construction. The construction of the sites started this month and will see three 110 megawatt wind farms be erected as industry looks toward greener alternatives of generating electricity.

Meanwhile as the country looks to the sun to as a clean way of generating electricity, Eskom itself does not have any utility scale solar installations. Instead, all solar farms are operated by Independent Power Producers, who sell their electricity to Eskom as part of power-purchasing agreements. If we zoom into the largest solar farm providing electricity to roughly 75,000 homes in South Africa, we need to go to the Northern Cape. The project there is so massive that solar photovoltaic panels spread across land space of 4,73 square km.

Now this next story may sound like its something from a science fiction novel, but according to a new study published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering researchers have unveiled a development in the realm of renewable energy with the creation of artificial power plants. These innovative power generators take the form of tiny, leaf-shaped devices that effectively convert the energy from wind and rain into electricity. Unlike solar panels that become ineffective after sunset or wind turbines that depend on breezy conditions, the newly developed technology can simultaneously harness energy from various renewable sources. The researchers envision a future where these artificial power plants could be scaled up into larger systems or networks, contributing to sustainable and clean energy solutions. This innovative approach addresses the limitations of traditional energy sources and offers a promising avenue for further research and development in the field of multi-source energy harvesting.

Written by: Keenan Williams

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