- 30th September 2010
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The South African Department of Energy has announced that the government plans to invest in a solar power park in the north of the country in order to meet increasing energy demands. South Africa suffered from a series of frequent rolling blackouts as the current power-generation systems struggled to cope with demand, and electricity rationing has been in place ever since.
The solar park, which is to be built in the Northern Cape Province, is anticipated to produce 5,000 megawatts of energy, around 11 per cent of the country’s current production capacity, according to a BBC report. At present, most of South Africa’s electricity is generated by coal-fired power stations, though it was also announced that the government plans to look into adding to the single nuclear power station that is currently online.
South Africa’s power problems have led to a series of blackouts as the national grid struggles to cope with a huge rise in demand as the country develops.
The creation of the solar park should also help to create up to 12,300 construction jobs and 3,000 operations and maintenance positions. However, with costs expected to run into billions of dollars, the government is hoping the private sector will absorb the majority of the construction expense.
The development of solar parks, led by Spain in particular, could prove to be hugely important for Africa’s development as a continent. Not only could they be a supply of cheap electricity to some of the poorest people on the planet and improve their quality of life, it could prove to be a lucrative new export market if countries in Africa can establish links with other countries to supply their power.