Die Beurtkrag Ramp

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Leestyd: 2 minute

Many consider load shedding nothing less than an attack on individual and collective freedom. It strips people from economic activity. And, should one be able to generate electricity via alternative sources, it comes at a tremendous and often unbudgeted cost.

Much has been said and written about load shedding and the debates and arguments about it are a never-ending constant. Some of the latter are productive and others are well, just utterly useless, primarily because many decision makers cannot or will not see the big picture.

It is an accepted fact that the experience and the knowledge to resolve many, if not all, our electricity challenges are available in South Africa. It will require the utilization of green or environmentally friendly technology, nuclear power or a combination of the two.

One expert, Desmund Bernardo or 00DEZ, as per his YouTube channel, believes that we cannot resolve this crisis without the use of nuclear. However, this is a time-intensive process and by the time the plans are in place (and plans had been in place but the market would not accept it) and development can proceed; our current grid would have collapsed. He also believes it a fallacy to think that solar and wind can power the industry. This is simply not possible.

One can intellectualize the load shedding challenge and potential solutions as much as you want. Most people required an alternative yesterday. This is severe within the business and farming community. Macadamia trees are flowering, and the critical time to irrigate is now, as every flower will bear a nut. If you do not have electricity to power your water pumps, production levels will be affected.

“I am blessed to have had generators on the farm for some years now,” says Young Farmer of the Year, from ANRO Farms, Org Lindeque. “Although these can power all our operations, it is not powerful enough to power all the water pumps. And here’s the rub – if we have Stage 6 load shedding, running these generators will cost us an extra unbudgeted R5000-00 per day for diesel. Do the math’s – Stage 6 for 10 days – it is hectic. But, we are farmers and we will find solutions. I have investigated Solar, but the cost, to cater to our requirements, is astronomical.”

For Hentie van der Merwe the challenge dictates a multi-level approach as production costs have skyrocketed. The latter would include transport to export markets with containers costs that have more than tripled – that is, if you can find a container. “We are considering employing drones for our spraying programs. This will lessen the use of tractors and diesel. Mechanising to reduce costs in the production process is important. We also mulch grass for compost and more organic farming methodologies. Softening the cost of chemicals and fertilizer is yet another challenge.”

Farming is a demanding business. “We have families and staff to care for and consumers require food at affordable prices.” The bottom line is that the realities of load shedding are real and brutal, and the best intentions will not be resolve it overnight.

The best one can do now – in this moment – is to plan ahead. As best as you can, wherever you are and with what you have!
But prepare, you must!


Generator advice: John Ley