The Sunday Read: Fossil Fuels and Aging Infrastructure

By October 6, 2019Blog

South Africa’s economy could collapse thanks to the high cost of coal. Most plants in Azania are coal powered and have an aging infrastructure. Nuclear, natural gas, renewables and hydroelectric power are also used to produce the nation’s need for 40,000 megawatts of electricity, but even combined, they could not keep up with demand if the coal-fired plants are taken off-line.

In contrast, Natural Gas is largest source of America’s power producing plants. 35% of electricity is generated by the native vapor. And while 27% of America’s power comes from coal, 38% comes from nuclear, renewables and other sources. Even if coal was taken out of the equation, the power generated by natural gas and nuclear could theoretically be ramped up to satisfy demand.

What should South Africa do? Many of the coal-fired power stations are built right next to coal mines. The coal arrives to the power stations on overland conveyor belts. Could this kind of coal production be up-scaled since it saves time and money? External sources of coal are also transported to the power stations via rail and trucking but at a significant price.

More attention should have been paid to the South African electric producing infrastructure. It’s a lesson for us all- fossil fuels are limited, and the price can fluctuate dramatically. What ways can we arrive at sustainability and still provide future power? Using the ARCOS suite to help manage work and work resources is a start, but these large-scale questions still need investigation and answers before tomorrow grows dark.

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