In­da­ba fo­cu­ses on green e­ner­gy, e-mo­bi­li­ty

Mossel Bay Advertiser - - News - Nic­key le Roux P­ho­tos: Nic­key le Roux

Li­fe as we know it, es­pe­ci­al­ly with re­gards to e­ner­gy and e­lec­tri­ci­ty, is a­bout to chan­ge ir­re­vo­ca­bly.

This was the sce­na­rio ske­t­ched by Dr Hil­de­gard Fast, le­ad: e­ner­gy se­cu­ri­ty ga­me chan­ger of the We­stern Ca­pe Pro­vin­ci­al E­ner­gy Se­cu­ri­ty U­nit at the re­cent Mos­sel Bay E­ner­gy In­da­ba, hos­ted by the Mos­sel Bay Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty.

With the ste­a­dy de­cli­ne in fos­sil fu­el, the need for en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly sound and sus­tai­na­ble green e­ner­gy so­lu­ti­ons, and the ra­pid de­ve­lop­ments in the al­ter­na­ti­ve e­ner­gy field, the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty re­a­li­sed the need to fo­cus on re­ne­wa­ble e­ner­gy.

"Mos­sel Bay Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty is o­pen for bu­si­ness," the mu­ni­ci­pal ma­na­ger, Adv T­hys Gi­li­o­mee told de­le­ga­tes to the E­ner­gy In­da­ba.

"The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty must do mo­re than just cre­a­te an en­vi­ron­ment con­du­ci­ve for lo­cal e­co­no­mic de­ve­lop­ment, we ha­ve to ex­pand our fa­ci­li­ta­ting ro­le by brin­ging sta­ke­hol­ders to­get­her and by being an e­na­bler."

The fu­tu­re to­day

Set­ting the sce­ne, Dr Fast ske­t­ched a fu­tu­ris­tic sce­na­rio of e­lec­tric cars and a techno­lo­gi­cal­ly dri­ven e­ver­y­day li­fe - on­ly the ske­tch was for on­ly a num­ber of y­e­ars in­to the fu­tu­re, within the li­fe­span of most of the de­le­ga­tes pre­sent. She said the fu­tu­re in­clu­des gre­a­ter di­gi­ta­li­sa­ti­on with au­to­ma­ted com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons and o­pe­ra­ti­ons, much of it dri­ven from hand held sets such as cel­lu­lar pho­nes. E­lec­tri­cal vehi­cles, with smart char­ging op­ti­ons will be­co­me the norm. New, che­a­per e­ner­gy techno­lo­gies such as so­lar and wind e­ner­gy will ma­ke fos­sil fu­el re­dun­dant o­ver ti­me as e­ner­gy ef­fi­cien­cy and stora­ge im­pro­ves. Ul­ti­ma­te­ly, to re­main re­le­vant, mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties, com­pa­nies and in­di­vi­du­als will be in a po­si­ti­on to pro­vi­de their own e­ner­gy.

Ul­ti­ma­te­ly, she said the aim is to ha­ve lar­ge di­ver­si­fied e­ner­gy sour­ce with a w­heeling po­li­cy that can as­sist in o­ver­co­ming re­gu­la­to­ry com­plex­i­ties. "If mu­ni­ci­pal e­lec­tri­ci­ty pri­ces in­cre­a­se at the sa­me ra­te as E­s­kom, off-grid sy­s­tems be­co­me mo­re re­a­lis­tic for cu­s­to­mers due to im­pro­ved bu­si­ness ca­se," Dr Fast said. Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties should heed the fact that their in­co­me from the sa­le of e­lec­tri­ci­ty is no mo­re a gi­ven as so­lar e­ner­gy will be­co­me one of the che­a­pest sour­ces of e­ner­gy in South A­fri­ca, and so­lar pho­to­vol­taic up­ta­ke will con­ti­nue to in­cre­a­se. She al­so accen­tu­a­ted the need for sus­tai­na­ble, low car­bon di­ver­si­fied e­ner­gy mix, al­so at lo­cal go­vern­ment le­vel to al­low for e­co­no­mic gro­wth un­con­strai­ned by e­lec­tri­ci­ty dis­rup­ti­ons.

U­ti­li­ties, she said will need to a­dapt to fit in­to new e­ner­gy lands­ca­pe.

The mu­ni­ci­pal spa­ti­al plan­ner, Ja­co Roux ex­plai­ned to de­le­ga­tes that the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty's ap­pro­ved spa­ti­al de­ve­lop­ment fra­me­work al­lows for i­ni­ti­a­ti­ves to em­bra­ce the mo­ve to­wards mo­re sus­tai­na­ble e­ner­gy so­lu­ti­ons.

Se­ver­al ot­her spea­kers high­lig­h­ted in­no­va­ti­ons in, a­mong ot­hers, e­lec­tri­cal vehi­cles and pro­gress being ma­de with the N2 so­lar vehi­cle char­ging sta­ti­ons, the sus­tai­na­bi­li­ty of Pe­troSA, and an in­te­res­ting pro­ject to rein­tro­du­ce spek­boom in­to o­ver­gra­zed a­re­as in Van­wyks­dorp.

This pro­ject, i­ni­ti­a­ted in 2015, has sin­ce gro­wn to em­ploy 60 pre­vi­ous­ly u­nem­ploy­ed, u­ne­du­ca­ted wor­kers - cre­a­ting an in­co­me for 65% of the ho­mes in the a­rea. In ad­di­ti­on, the pro­ject has in­ves­ted in food gar­dens for the com­mu­ni­ty.

Ad­vo­ca­te De Vil­liers Bo­tha said e­lec­tro­mo­bi­li­ty, kno­wn as e-mo­bi­li­ty, is al­re­a­dy a vi­a­ble al­ter­na­ti­ve to the in­ter­nal com­bus­ti­on en­gi­ne. He ad­ded, though, that a mix­tu­re of techno­lo­gies is nee­ded.

In his con­clu­ding re­marks, the fa­ci­li­ta­tor Prof Er­win S­chwel­la of the U­ni­ver­si­ty of S­tel­len­bosch con­g­ra­tu­la­ted the Mos­sel Bay Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty for being in­no­va­ti­ve in cre­a­ting a sta­ble en­vi­ron­ment and op­por­tu­ni­ties for e­ner­gy ef­fi­cient com­pa­nies to es­ta­blish bu­si­nes­ses in the gre­a­ter mu­ni­ci­pal a­rea.

He ad­ded that work on the es­ta­blishment of a stra­te­gic e­co­no­mic zo­ne for Mos­sel Bay is well un­der way.

Dr Fast in dis­cus­si­on with A­jay T­ri­kam of the De­part­ment of E­co­no­mic De­ve­lop­ment and Tou­rism, the mu­ni­ci­pal di­rec­tor of techni­cal ser­vi­ces, Dick Nai­doo and the mu­ni­ci­pal chief fi­nan­ci­al of­fi­cer, Da­wood As­mal.

An­dré B­ritz of the S­pek­kies Pro­ject in Van­wyks­dorp (left) in dis­cus­si­on with Bar­ry Ja­cobs of the Hou­se of K­hoi in G­re­at Brak Ri­ver and the mu­ni­ci­pal IDP ma­na­ger, Ge­or­ge van der West­hui­zen.

The mu­ni­ci­pal ma­na­ger, Ad­vo­ca­te T­hys Gi­li­o­mee, wel­co­med de­le­ga­tes to the E­ner­gy In­da­ba.

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