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renewable energy

  • Off-grid living is easier than you think.

    Many people aspire to becoming totally self-sufficient and living off-grid but feel that it is impossible due to the technology involved and the financial implications, but we are here to tell you that going off the grid is easier than you think, if you put the time in.

    Like anything desirable, achieving aspirations take time and dedication. Due to the fact that we have more than 15 years of experience, we have listed our top tips on how to go to make a smooth transition to going off-grid.

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  • Let us put the Spring back into your Step this Season

    Let us put a Spring in your step.

    Spring is, simply put, the reawakening from the slumber of Winter. Cold weather and dark days start turning around. Birds can be heard twittering harmoniously as the dawn breaks earlier and earlier. This is much to the enjoyment and pleasure of most.

    Renewal, Rejuvenation and Revitalisation

    At Sustainable.co.za we have decided to focus the start of the lighter, warmer months on the theme of the renewal, revitalisation and rejuvenation of your lifestyle and the life of the planet.

    Our team have spent many hours putting together fantastic, well packaged Spring Kits. From eco-friendly cleaning products to the perfect water-saving hampers and Braai Day packages and more. We will also be running the biggest competition we have had to date. Read on to find out more.

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  • Don't be in the Dark this Earth Hour

    Every year people switch off their lights for an hour as a collective gesture towards the protection of the environment. Unless you have a streak of Nyctophilia chances are that you would, like most people, prefer to avoid stubbing your toe against the kitchen table leg. If you are a shoe-wearing environmentalist, you'd probably prefer to avoid falling down the stairs when your shoes fail to warn you of the impending drop. Either way, some form of eco-friendly lighting might not be such a bad idea. Yes, we seize every opportunity to promote our wonderful products, see the full range of solar lights here.

    On the 25th of March at 8:30pm local time, people across 24 time zones will be coming together to make a noise in the interest of our only terrestrial home. There’s still a lot of sceptics out there, not to mention national leaders who choose to ignore the realities faced by future generations. Sadly, our society’s myopic policy-making is slow to catch on to the real dangers, but governments and corporates are at last starting to shift their stance on this issue that can no longer be ignored. China is finally enforcing stricter carbon cutting measures on a city-level and its notorious law enforcement isn’t accepting lame excuses; no more “the dog ate my emissions certificate” for Chinese factory owners. Freight ships entering Chinese harbours now have to switch off their diesel engins and take on power lines from the port authorities.

    We have all heard arguments that the earth has been through warmer periods before and that the current warming is due to natural cycles i.e. change in orbit over 100 millennia, the latter has off course been disproven. Increasing levels of CO2 and Methane are the leading cause of present climate change, the far-reaching consequences of which are already becoming apparent in ways far more disastrous than with natural warming. These changes are often far removed from our everyday lives yet thousands of children are dying the world over from pneumonia directly linked to hazardous air quality, but the urgency of environmental policies are still being questioned?

    This year we are privileged to be working with WWF and Green Peace to lobby for the renewable sector, an industry that continually has to justify itself and overcome bureaucratic hurdles. Moreover, the 4th Annual Eco Film Festival will be taking place around Earth Hour, as a co-sponsor, the Sustainable team is looking forward to take part in this event. Whether you are at a festival, sitting at a family dinner table or camping in the bush with stars overhead, join millions of people in a mass demonstration to affect change.

    What can I do other than jumping up and down and banging on Parliament’s door?

     

  • Eskom and NERSA Offer Renewable Energy Incentives to Consumers

    Renewable energy has become a legal commodity thanks to Eskom and NERSA (National Energy Regulator of South Africa). South Africa’s electricity distributor and regulator are offering separate supplementary tiers to the country’s independent power producer programme that is currently underway. These nation-wide projects have been adopted in order to avoid a repeat of the load shedding initiatives that occurred in 2008.

    Renewable Energy Solutions Courtesy of Eskom and NERSA:

    Embedded Generations within Municipal Boundaries

    As of the 22nd of September 2011, NERSA approved the directive of municipalities to maintain a database of all small-scale (<100kW) embedded generation within their areas. The idea behind this is to bypass licensing problems introduced by allowing individuals to connect their solar panels to electricity grids, thereby reducing their electricity bills (find out more here).

     

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  • SA cuts PBMR funding. Are they finally investing in Renewable Energy instead?

    SA government cuts the PBMR budget by 75%

    SA government cuts the PBMR budget by 75%

    Environmental groups around South Africa are welcoming a decision made by the SA government recently to cut 75% of its funding towards the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) Company. Environmentalists are hoping that this is an indication that more money will be put towards renewable energy which is a much more effective way of attacking the energy crisis in South Africa.

    Despite the “good news” for most renewable energy supporters and companies such as Sustainable.co.za, the sudden cut in budget to the PBMR Company has resulted in possible major loss of jobs which could culminate in becoming the end of the PBMR Company.  In a statement released last week, PBMR spokesman said that they were seriously considering retrenching up to 75% of their staff. This would result in a total loss of 600 jobs if another source of funding can not be found within the immediate future.

    Over the last three years, the PBMR Company received over R7.2-billion from the government whereas renewable energy companies have received little to no funding. This is a massive amount as the government was looking towards nuclear energy becoming the saving grace of the South African energy crisis. Unfortunately, the PBMR has bore little fruit for the money which has been invested in them which is why the government has now only allocated R11 million to the PBMR over the next three years.

    Liz McDaid, of the South African Faith Communities Environmental Institute was extremely supportive of the government’s decision:

    "This PBMR programme has been going on from the early 90s and what is there to show for it? Now it appears that it is no longer something on South Africa's development agenda. It would be fantastic if we could now hear the energy minister (Dipuo Peters) say in her budget speech that the money that has been going to the PBMR will go into renewable energy sources."

    Richard Worthington, of WWF South Africa also had positive opinion on the decision:

    "For a long time the nuclear industry has received more state support than the renewable energy industry. We hope this cut in funding signals a policy commitment to investing in renewable energy, and the implementation of the 1998 white paper on energy policy,"

    Ultimately, it would be great if the PBMR could get the backing of an external investor and continue research without the assistance of the government. This looks a slight possibility as there is allegedly a group of high-level Algerian delegates who are interested in investing in the company.

    South Africa should look to increase it’s funding of renewable energy research as this is the way of the future. However, if we can continue research in both nuclear and renewable energy with the support of government and investors, this would be an ideal situation. Let’s hold thumbs for the people whose jobs are at risk at the PBMR, and let’s hope the government allocates the newly freed up budget towards renewable energy jobs and research.

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