Agricultural innovation sows seeds of hope
Innovation in South Africa’s agricultural sector is needed to provide a systemic solution to the country’s rising cost of transport, food and power.
According to the REN21 Global Status Report, Brazil, China, India and South Africa are leading the development of large-scale innovative programmes that address the challenges of energy access and sustainability within rural communities.
Innovative off-grid energy technologies must be phased in to meet the demands of the agricultural sector’s 3.6 percent annual growth and delink it from non-renewable power sources across the food chain from source to consumer.
South Africa has vast untapped renewable energy sources especially in solar and wind energy. In addition, there is a large absorptive capacity among farmers and farming cooperatives for off-grid energy technology.
Trevor de Vries, Managing Director 3W Power South Africa, said: “By combining renewable energy with off-grid application systems, AEG seeks to empower the rural economy with an environmentally friendly, economical and reliable solution to sustainable energy access.
“Based on the number of large-scale solar installations on farms in the Western Cape, the market is ready for innovative, off-grid solutions that are custom-designed for farmers, co-operatives and smallholdings.”
“The AEGPS system uses ECPpx (Environment reducing CO2 and oPeX) – Extreme Compact Architecture, a next generation hybrid power generation system.
“It is capable of harnessing renewable and conventional energy sources in combination with energy storage. This enables the off-grid power plant to optimise the use of wind and solar energy at times of peak demand.
“It also has the potential to increase operating efficiencies with the advantage of reducing ownership and operating costs, decreasing fuel consumption and maximising system reliability.
“The agile intelligence of the AEG PS off-grid energy system enables farmers in the most remote rural areas to build and maintain sustainable farming systems with efficient operations, independent of the national grid.”
In comparison with the cost of grid extension, fuel and fuel delivery to remote locations, AEG’s system reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by between approximately 30 percent and 100 percent, stores excess generated energy and has short payback periods of three years or less.
With Eskom’s prices set to increase at eight to 16 percent over the next five years, mass conversion to off-grid energy is necessary to unlock the absorptive capacity of farmers to harvest the country’s wind and solar potential to ease the growing burden on consumers.
This will also help secure South Africa’s long-term competitive advantage as a world leader in agricultural production and grow jobs in the green economy.
De Vries concluded: “Off-grid solar power is central to changing the energy-access dynamic in South Africa and transforming rural villages into centres of commercial innovation for the benefit of South African businesses, consumers and workers.
“Our vision is in line with innovative initiatives driven by the South African Government’s Renewable Energies Independent Power Producer’s Programme (REIPPP) as well as strategies within the National Development Plan 2030 and the Integrated Resource Plan.”
3W Power South Africa is the local subsidiary of the power electronic group AEG Power Solutions, a global provider of power electronics systems and solutions for all industrial power requirements offering one of the most comprehensive product and service portfolios in the area of power conversion and power control.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”