Power Pontification and RED ONE

AMAZING to see wealthy property owners in Cape Town brandishing their colonial cudgels at the new enemy — “Eskom” and the old foe “black majority government” while the city still searches for a mayor that isn’t wearing nappies, or carrying a whip like a librarian. Truth is, whatever the major parties tell you, the energy sector was deregulated last year so that locals could share in the wealth created from redistribution of power.

Have we forgotten that the city no longer buys power from Eskom, but is serviced by REDS Regional Electricity Distributors (REDs).

One could be forgiven for thinking this is all just a commie plan to take over local government, but REDs have started a revolution, by replacing Eskom and municipalities in the provision of electricity to households and businesses.Unfortunately somebody wasn’t watching when Eskom pulled the plug and the lights went out.

Or perhaps, RED 1, run by former city manager Saleem Mowzer, just wasn’t online? Apparently six REDs were established, with the first RED in Cape Town as the anchor, launched on July 4 last year. The theory is that with Eskom out of the way, decentralised energy resources will become more cost effective and prone to utilising renewable power (not fossil fuels or gas!).

Unfortunately, a conflict between Eskom and Red 1 seems to have emerged — opportunity perhaps for local householders to start generating their own surplus power for resale back to the city? Judging by the amount of generators bought by hysterical voters
over the election, and the prevailing wisdom of survival of the fittest, every household could end up with its very own power unit.

Why not try modern fuel cell technology that deploys hydrogen to generate clean electricity. All very well, since this was Eskom’s plan all along, except for the fact that they backed the wrong horse and now those horrible mini-koebergs have been given half a billion rand by Trevor Manual, for what is essentially an outdated, outmoded, and unsafe system, that can never work.

Think about it, nuclear power more ubiquitous than the toaster or microwave oven? Surely not, go figure the health costs from Uranium mining alone, which will match the Asbestos industry in terms of law suits and then those minor accidents with spanners and the occassional act of sabotage and Trevor looks a bit like DR Strangelove..

With R500 000 000 we could solve South Africa’s energy crisis once and for all, instead, its just a drop in the ocean as far as the nuclear industry is concerned.

Time to shut down the Cold War Koeberg Plant once and for all, along with the Mini-Koeberg “pebble-bed” programme.


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