energy

SA to Unveil World’s Biggest Solar Power Plant

South Africa plans to unveil what it claims will be the world's biggest solar power plant -- a radical step in a coal-dependent country where one in six people still lacks electricity.

The project, expected to cost up to R200 billion, will aim by the end of its first decade to achieve an annual output of five gigawatts (GW) of electricity -- currently one-tenth of the country’s energy needs.

Compulsory Water Licences to Farmers

The Department of Water and Environment says it will soon start issuing compulsory water licences to farmers in some river-catchment areas in a bid to divert water to other priorities, such as Eskom's water-guzzling power stations.

Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, points out that licensing will begin in four of the most sensitive catchment areas ‘as soon as circumstances will allow’.

World Bank Defends Eskom Loan

The World Bank hits back at critics, saying that poverty could not be reduced without the availability of electricity.

The bank argues that there can be no poverty reduction without power and that sustainable development cannot be achieved without addressing climate change. It is of the view that the Eskom project is helping to get this balance right.

The World Bank came under fire last week from environmentalists and opposition parties for granting a controversial 3.75 billion loan to Eskom for its new-build programme.

Govt Strives for Universal Access to Energy

The Department of Energy says government will continue to strive for universal access to energy with emphasis on the rural poor.

This access will not only cover the electricity supply, infrastructure, and hardware, but also the operational cost associated with poor households.

In a speech delivered on her behalf at a power conference during African Utility Week in Cape Town  Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said: “We will work closely with national Treasury and municipalities to make it happen within our available resources.”

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