The South African sugar industry can be a valuable power source in the country, but it will need political will to work.
This is according to Thomas Funke, commercial executive at Canegrowers South Africa, who said burning sugar cane fibres is a valuable source of energy.
Rapport reported that the sugar industry holds enormous potential to add significant power to the local grid, which could help fight off load-shedding.
Funke said sugar mills are already burning all the fibre from sugar cane, and investing in harnessing this energy for electricity production can be of great benefit to Eskom.
Apart from enabling the sugar industry to add significant electricity to the grid, it will also offer this struggling sector another revenue stream.
To make this happen, however, the Department of Energy will have to create regulations on biomass and Eskom must allow electricity from the private sector to be added to the grid.
Farmers can also help
This report follows a Carte Balance expose on how farmers can help Eskom to solve the country’s power shortage.
Small-scale solar plans around South Africa can save farmers thousands in electricity bills and even help to prevent load-shedding, but the government and NERSA are having none of it.
Carte Blanche reported that farmers have the land and the incentive to install small-scale solar farms, which can cover most of their electricity needs.
Excess electricity can also be fed into the South African grid, which can help to alleviate load-shedding during times of Eskom shortages.
Requier Wait, Agri SA Head of Economics and Trade, said farmers have the capacity to generate up to 1,400MW of electricity.
This is enough to power a small-sized city and can even prevent stage 1 load-shedding at times of electricity shortages.
Generating solar power is also good for the farming industry as it lowers operational cost and prevents problems during load-shedding.
It therefore makes perfect sense for farmers to use solar energy, but there is an obstacle – the government and the National Energy Regulator (NERSA).
They are preventing these projects from adding power to the South African power grid, which is hurting both the farmers and the country.