Alternative energy is a term hanging off the lips of everyone in South Africa as of recently. With the load shedding debacle not showing any signs of letting up soon, new and innovative ways of harnessing energy need to be found. Alternative energy has been a topic of debate for years though, and yet we have no real indication of what to expect. Last week we published an article on how Cape Town is attempting to get off the grid with solar panels, which you can read here.

Alternative energy does not use up our natural resources or harm the environment, making it an ideal solution especially now since we are facing an energy crisis. The different alternative energy sources are as follows:

Solar energy – this comes directly from sunlight and can be used directly to generate electricity for heating, lighting, hot water heating and solar cooling in both homes and businesses.

Wind energy – wind is an alternative energy source that is captured by wind turbines. Currently, there are many active wind farms in South Africa.

Hydrogen power – this is the most abundant element on earth and can be found in organic compounds as well as in water. It doesn’t occur naturally as a gas but it is always combined with other elements. Once it is separated from another element, hydrogen can burn as fuel and be converted into electricity.

Geothermal energy – geothermal energy uses the earth’s internal heat for a variety of uses. These can include electric power and heating and cooling mechanisms.

In South Africa, all four of these alternative energy sources are in operation but on a small scale. The reason for the lack of growth of these in our country is mostly due to the costs of setting up these operations and maintaining them as reliable alternative energy sources.

As there is this lag with the setting up of alternative energy sources in South Africa, our power and electricity has come under immense pressure.

Load shedding is making our lives tough but a new kind of power saving initiative has been implemented. It is called ‘load limiting’ and it is going to begin affecting us in the coming months. Yesterday, Tuesday 14th April 2015, City Power announced that they are amidst plans to use smart meters to roll out the concept of ‘load limiting’.

What does this mean for us? According to City Power these smart meters will be able to remotely monitor household electricity usage and then send an SMS to users when there is a threat of load shedding occurring. The idea is to reduce load shedding across the country and those users who minimise their power usage will no longer be affected by power cuts. You can read more about load limiting here.

Reducing your energy usage in your home is now a more prevalent concern than ever before.

With load limiting on the horizon, all homeowners will need to pay attention to reducing their energy usage so as to avoid experiencing load shedding. The ways in which to reduce your energy consumption are numerous and mostly simple to implement.