Saturday, 22 February 2014

Going Green in South Africa

Becoming a Green Business in South Africa

photo of wind turbine in jeffreys bay south africa

There's a growing movement in Europe and the USA (my source markets) to support green business. It would be great to be able to say my business was green. A business doesn't have to produce their own green power to be green - they can buy it from a green utility.

With a relocation pending a few months away I'm looking at possible areas and what they offer. Business people usually look fo ra local market when deciding where to locate a business - the big question is often- will they be able to run a profitable business if located in Blikkiesdorp, or do they have to be in an area with enough potential customers.

In my case customers within 5km, 10km or even 500km are not vital to success. Mostly my customers are not even in SA. Which is rather handy if one wants to get out of the city life... What is important for my business is internet access and availability of electricity. That means there're a lot of possible locations available.

And it would be great to add the Green Business logo to my websites.

Being a Green Business in South Africa.

Eskom has started building wind farms - producing a fraction of the power supplied to the national grid. Not nearly enough to justify a claim a business uses green sourced power.
But what about this - locate the business in the area these wind farms are built. If the total power used in the area is less than that generated by the wind farms, one is basically living in a green area. Yes, it's twisting the idea a bit. It's a lot more honest than buying carbon credits and saying your business is green because it pays a tax to produce carbon which is really a ridiculous concept.

10 wind turbines came on-line in January this year. These already produce 23MW of electricity. Another 17 are built, awaiting commission. Eventually this wind farm will produce 138 MW from 60 turbines - enough to power 114 000 South African homes and reduce 420 000 tons of carbon emissions each year. 

That's 20% more capacity than required for all homes in the area where the wind farm is situated, Kouga district in the south Eastern Cape.

South Africa's first Green District! Well, the first one that can say their power use is green... Yes, The power is fed to the national grid; but its how you look at it that counts.

And here's another thought - Electricity gets to the closest consumption point first, so it goes to the grid - The district takes power from the same grid. The closest connection for consumption is Kouga district - voila - Kouga residents use more wind power than anyone else on the Eskom grid.

We Can Reduce Our Carbon Footprint.

Ideally we would like to live off the grid - at least as far as possible. Of course, needing the 'net means one is on the grid. But there are other ways to go off the grid. Generate your own power, supply your own water, grow your own food...

Not always a realistic option, at least not in SA. Home power generation is exorbitantly expensive, water is perhaps a bit easier with a borehole and rain water storage tanks.
But we can support wind power generation, make use of it. Wind turbines provide carbon free electricity from an inexhaustible source - the wind. Carbon footprint - none. Purists will argue building the thing produces carbon. Ja boet - it does - but compared to the amount of carbon used to produce 3MW of electricity it's none!