SA Sets out to Find Alternative Energy Sources

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BYLINE: Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

THE likelihood of massive worldwide crude oil shortages in the next few decades may mean that South Africans will have to bite the bullet during an ongoing energy crisis while alternatives are developed.

This was the warning sounded by the Department of Minerals and Energy yesterday on the "immediate" need to put in place legislation to regulate the generation of alternative and renewable forms of energy.

The department's deputy director-general for hydrocarbons and energy planning, Nhlanhla Gumede, told MPs that although the draft National Energy Bill had been in the making for the last five years, it will be submitted to the Cabinet by May for its approval.

The legislation would seek to create a co-ordinated plan to deal with the energy crisis and to develop a strategy for the current problem to generate and produce renewable energy.

Eskom said last week that money from the steep price hikes it is proposing were to be invested in renewable energy sources.

Gumede told the National Assembly committee on minerals and energy that the electricity crisis had shown that the country needed to catch up with the developed world and generate energy from sources other than coal.

South Africa was not the only country affected by the global shortage of oil. "We will run out of crude in 44 years", Gumede said. …