In my previous post, ‘Why be Revolutionary?’ I talked about the rise in popularity of alternative energy sources in South Africa. This is growing in impetus all over the world as resources become more scarce. The billions of people on the planet are realising that the onset of global warming was not just a conspiracy theory after all and that something needs to be done, quickly, to start remedying our current and ever growing impact.
The term Revolutionary has always seemed to me to be a word that implies movement? Why? It is a major and sudden impact on society or human endeavour according to Wikipedia. If you look at some of the famous revolutionaries in history (whether you agree or disagree with their principles and actions), none of them achieved the status of being a Revolutionary by doing nothing.
To name a few:
Spartacus : A slave leader who led a revolt against the Roman empire and in doing so became symbolic of revolutionary leaders fighting oppression.
William Wallace : (Who could forget Mel Gibson with war paint on?) Scottish rebel who led an uprising against the English during the Scottish wars of independence.
Joan of Arc : A revolutionary who inspired the French Dauphin to renew the fight again English Forces.
Mahatma Ghandi : Ghandi inspired non violent protests against the British.
But why am I going on about revolutionaries? Well, regardless if action was carried out peacefully or with force, the point is that there was action, movement, sudden impact. I had the opportunity to briefly discuss the ‘power play’ in Africa with one of our Project Researchers, Marlaine Andersen. She had some interesting points to make about her research in relation to the power (or lack thereof in some cases) in Africa:
“In terms of history – The African and SADC countries, like South Africa, have not made any provision for the expansion of their cities and town, the population growth and influx into the towns from the outlying areas, neither have they maintained the existing power grid infrastructure and as a result most countries in Africa have a huge power deficit, with load-shedding being a regular occurrence in many countries and many poor people having no access to power whatsoever. In recent years, many of the African and SADC countries have started making plan, raising funds etc. in a bid to generate more power through different sources, like hydro power, wind power, transmission lines, power stations, etc.”
Some of the more recent projects are:
Gas and Oil :
- Construction of a 350MW gas-and oil-fired combined-cycle power plant in the municipality of Kpone, within the Tema industrial zone, in Ghana. Tema, Ghana’s major residential and industrial city, has the largest sea port in the country. It is about 24km from the international airport in the capital, Accra. Estimated project value : $900-million
- Construction of a 50MW gas power plant in Rwanda in Central Africa.
- NamPower (Pty) Ltd, the national electricity utility of Namibia, is developing the Kudu 800MW CCGT Power Station near Oranjemund in south-western Namibia. The combined cycle power station project will use natural gas from the Kudu Gas Field which is located 170km off-shore. Estimated Project Value: N$13.8 billion.
- Namibian electricity utility, Nampower’s plans to build a new 300MW power station and waste oil recycling plant the heavy industrial zone of Arandis in Erongo, Namibia. The source of the coal to fire the power station has not yet been decided. Nampower would seek to identify all potential environmental, social and health impacts associated with the project, so as to manage these in accordance with international standards.
Electricity Highway :
- Construction of an electricity highway between Ethiopia and Kenya, approximately 1068km of high-voltage, direct current 500kV transmission line and associated alternating current/direct current converter stations from Wolayta-Sodo, in Ethiopia to Suswa in Kenya, with a power transfer capacity of up to 2000MW. The total estimated project cost is $1.26 billion.
- The 2067MW Lauca hydro-power station is being developed on the Kwanza river between the Cambambe and Capanda project in Angola. The project includes the development of a 132m high roller-compacted concrete dam, with a crest length of 1075m. The plant will comprise two units with six Francis turbines, each with an output of 340MW, and generators as well as additional equipment. The power station will supply power to about 750 000 people.
- The project involves the construction of the 40MW Kabompo Gorge hydropower station to be located between the Solwezi and Mwinlunga districts at Kabompo Gorge on the Kabompo river in the north western region of Zambia. The development of the plant on the Kabompo river will help reduce the constant power outages occurring in the region. The power station will have an installed capacity of 1 600 MW and includes a 181-m-high roller-compacted concrete cavity arch dam, a radial-gated crest-type spillway and two underground power stations on the north and south banks of the river, each with four 200 MW vertical-shaft Francis turbine generators. The project is designed as a run-of-river scheme, with an estimated average energy generation of 8 700 GWh/y. Estimated project value : $120 million.
- The construction of a 150MW to 300MW coal-fired power station(with potential to upgrade to 800MW) in the Erongo region of Namibia, known as the Erongo Coal-fired Power Station. The proposed project has a total estimated price tag of between R4-billion and R7-billion.
Action is always better than stagnation. Does Africa like South Africa has power issues? Of course! We, as a continent, are developing at a rate faster than anticipated (or planned – regardless of whose fault it may be). Life doesn’t tend to play by a set of guidelines. This continent is most certainly revolutionary. Sometimes the actions taken are not the ones we would specifically choose and sometimes to the detriment of her people, but the point is, there is also action being taken that is in a direction to build and improve. Take a look at these projects and see for yourself.
I suppose my question is really, “what am I doing to be part of this revolutionary continent?”
I leave you with the words of Martin Luther King Junior “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. What is your next move?