Renewable energy will remain an expensive pipe dream as long as we rely on those who are in it for financial gain. Only a true democratic government which governs for the benefit of the people in preference to its own selfish ends can ensure a renewable energy regimen that will take the country and its people to the pinnacle of outcomes.

The first hurdles to cross lie in the acceptance that fossil fuels, besides the damage that they do to all forms of life on our planet, have a finite lifespan. It is conceivable that they could last long enough to ensure extreme irrevocable damage to our planet, not only to our country.

In South Africa our problem with fossil fuels lies in our dryness. The mining of coal and its use in boiling water for the steam with which to generate electricity uses and pollutes vast amounts of water, as does the refining of expensive imported crude oil, the Sasol process and the gas-to-liquid fuel procedure. We tolerate these because they have high profit margins, widening the gap between the haves and have-nots and keeping politicians in power.

Twenty-six years ago proposals both here and elsewhere were tabled and then mothballed outlining using nature’s helpers, wind and sunlight, to harvest hydrogen from the inexhaustible oceans. The process and the equipment were perfected decades ago. Cars and aircraft were also developed to use this fuel in parallel with standard fuels involving minor modifications to existing craft. It was also shown that existing power stations could be converted to steam from hydrogen inexpensively, allowing them to condense the waste steam into fresh water in a process purifying polluted sources, thereby guaranteeing a growing stable water supply in perpetuity instead of the damage they are currently guilty of.

Eskom should be returned to exist for the benefit of the country and not to make profits for a select club of privileged shareholders. Then it could turn its attention to delivering a supply of clean, affordable electricity and hydrogen fuel for all our needs.

The country could return to the pristine atmospheric and aquatic conditions found by man when first he stumbled upon this beautiful southern tip of Africa. All forms of life would then once again prosper and bloom.

Siegfried Berger

Greenside, Joburg