South Africa: Wind, solar power to provide rural poor with electricity

Solar panel array and wind turbines16 February 2014, Tshwane – Wind and solar-generated power will form the backbone of a provincial government programme to provide disadvantaged people in rural Eastern Cape with electricity.

Provincial Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane said the Eastern Cape government will work with Eskom to provide these areas with free non-grid electricity (electricity that isn’t supplied by the established Eskom grid).

“Where there’s no electricity in the form of grid, there must be provision for non-grid electricity. We will work together with traditional leaders and communities to make sure that people benefit from this,” said Qoboshiyane.

He said rural municipalities like Mbhashe and Engcobo that don’t generate much revenue have already been able to provide basic alternative sources of energy where Eskom grid electricity is not available.

“This is an indication that people from poor municipalities who don’t have electricity can get access to alternative sources of energy. This acts as a cushion for poor people,” said Qoboshiyane.

Nolonwabo Mjame, from Good Hope Village near Butterworth, said she was happy that she will soon be provided with non-grid electricity.

“I have been waiting for more than 25 years to have electricity in my home. It doesn’t matter what kind of electricity is provided, as long as I will be able to watch television and store food in my refrigerator,” said Mjame.
*Zizi Hlungulu-

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