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Essay/Term paper: South africa's energy outlook

Essay, term paper, research paper:  World History

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Energy is defined as something that creates action. Energy has always been a necessity, because everything requires it in one way or another to work. Without energy, there could bo no electricity, no modern convieniences, or industrialization. Unfortunatly, energy usually means that are negative impacts on the environment. Some of the environmental impacts include, air pollution, land pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, and general aesthetic problems. I plan to come up with a plan to make South Africa's resources last, with minimal effects on the environment, which is cost effective, as well as realistic.

Current Energy Profile

South Africa is a nation with many reasources. It has many mines, that mine many different minerals, including coal, uranium, and diamonds. South Africa only has six-percent of the total population in Africa, but it produces sixty-percent of it's energy.
Coal mines fill the country. It currently has more than sixty open mines open. In total, the country has 121,218 million tons of coal, and 55,333 million tons of that are projected reserves. Coal currently supplies 84% of South Africa's electricity.
Suth Africa has been looking to develop and find more sources of natural gas, and oil. Large amounts of gas were recently found at Mossel Bay on the south coast. The reserves are large enough to produce 25,000 of diesel and petrol a day for thirty years.
South Africa has one nuclear power plant. It also has a large supply of Uranuim, which is a by product of copper mining. It has
247,600 metric tons of recoverable uranium with a cost of less than $80.00 per ton. It has 96,800 at a cost of less than $130.00 per ton, and provides 14% of the western world's uranium.
Renewable resources only supply 5% of the total energy. It has three hydro-electric plants. More aren't being developed, because there would have to be many dams, and resivoirs built. It also lies in a dry area of Africa.
South Africa's currently uses 3,756 miilion GJ of energy a year. It is broken up by, 48% for industry, 24% for transportation, 17% by households, 8% by the mining industry, and 3% for agriculture.
91% of South Africa's energy is produced by the Escom Company. It uses the following sources.
- 20 coal fired plants -
- 3 hydro-electric plants -
- 2 gas turbine plants -
- 1 nuclear power station -

The southern, and eastern coastlines have much more water than the interior. 33,000 million m3 of water is available in storage dams. It has been estimated that there is 5,400 million cubic meters of groundwater. Current project say that by 2010 only 3.5% of total energy production will be hydro-electric. If the system was made more efficient, it would be easy to make more power. A return flow system needs to be installed in urban areas, so that the water can be used again. South Africa could easily rely on their hydro-electric capacity to be 5% by the year 2025.

Nuclear Power:
South Africa's nuclear possibilities are limitless. It has all the supplies to make more plants easily. But, it has a past that includes many conflicts. The initail cost of building the plants is very expensive, and there is also the costs of having to constantly retrain employees. If a commision is started to make sure that if more plants are built they are clean, and wastes are being disposed of properly, thing could work. By 2025, it should also supply 5% of total enegy.

Oil and Natural Gas:
Currently these two combined supply less than 10%. This should be redused. There needs to be a way to save the resources, because these will be gone in less than 30 years.

This is one way they can make up for the saving of oil and natuarl gas. They don't have any biomass production now, so anything would be better. With 34,000,000 people, the option is obviously there. It also has a 2/1 yield/cost ratio. Some of the forst would have to be cut to supply a space for the biomass, and that is a potential problem, but if planned properly it isn't. 5% of the country's total energy production should be biomass by 2025.

Wind Power:
This is what is really going to do it for South Africa. In the eastern transvaal, winds are eastern. In the central, winds are north-easterly. In the western and southern interior, winds are westerly. There are always winds on the coasts. Large spaces between urban ares are good places for wind powered generators. As with all wind powered generators, there will be problems with birds dying, but these are minimal. Wind generators don't require many workers to run them. I propose that 20% of the electricity should come from wind by 2025.

Solar Power:
South Africa also has a good potential for solatr power. It has a high average tempertaure, and is a dry country, which means it is usually sunny. The cost are more expensive than other power sources, but there are no environmental costs, and it will never run out. The only pollution it has is the dicarding of batteries, and that isn't very often, and with new ways of disposing batteries it is very safe. I propose 25% of the power to be supplied from the sun.

Coal needs to be discontinued slowly. The expotation of coal, is extremely important to the economy. It would have to be dicontinued slow enough, so that all the people working in all the aspects that relate to coal could find new jobs. Coal still needs to provide a large part of electricity production. The coal the country has is the cleanest burning, and supplies the most heat, this is good. Mainly coal just needs to be used less, so that it will last longer. I would like to see that by 2025, only 30% of the power be from coal.


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