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South Africa’s energy crisis stretches back, way back, to late 2007 – and if you were playing at an online casino then, we bet you can clearly remember our first bout of crippling ‘blackouts’. Termed blackouts then, these rolling interruptions in our electricity supply got a new name, one that strikes fear in our souls – “load shedding”. Yet South Africa’s largest cities have a plan…
The actual usage of the term ‘load shedding’ was first recorded in 1945 to 1950 – before the first online casino or the internet was even around. Yet South Africa – and our ongoing power crisis – put it firmly on the map and gave it a new meaning altogether.
To answer the question of when load shedding started, roll back a decade (and then some) to late 2007, when we experienced our first round of chronic power outages, which lasted until May 2008. This was merely round 1.
Established in 1923, Eskom, or the “Elektrisiteitsvoorsieningskommissie” in Afrikaans, is South Africa’s electricity public utility. It is also known as the Electricity Supply Commission (ESCOM) in English – although the former abbreviation according to the Afrikaans name stuck.
Now, if you’ve had your online casino sessions interrupted due to load shedding over the years, it might infuriate you somewhat to know that the electricity crisis was already predicted in the late 1990s. Eskom and government leaders and decision makers knew that the utility service would run out of reserves by 2007 – and they were pretty accurate in their prediction. With a solid warning and enough time to intervene, why is load shedding still our current reality?
Eskom has 13 coal-fired power stations in South Africa that produces approximately 90% of its electricity. Running out of reserves isn’t what has been the main problem though – the real issue has been decades worth of neglect of maintenance on the power grid. The results have been catastrophic. Every online casino and business was affected – and in 2019 alone, our GDP declined by 3.2% in the first quarter, with power shortages being largely to blame.
The country as a whole has had enough and there was mounting pressure to find alternative power sources. The spoke in the wheel was, of course, the government – but now municipalities have largely been given permission to wean themselves off the state utility. This means that cities can start planning to off-grid, and load shedding as we know it might come to an end after more than a decade. It isn’t all smooth sailing yet though…
If there is something that South Africa has no shortage of, it is natural resources to use to generate electricity to power online casino sessions – and entire cities! We have endless sunny days to harvest solar energy, and if you’re in the Cape, you’ll be all too familiar with the windy months which are perfect for wind turbines. We also have massive dams and water sources that could generate hydroelectric power… but there is something else that we can use in our favour – trash!
Each municipality will table their own plan on how they intend to generate alternative power, and in Jozi – SA’s largest city and the country’s financial hub – they’ll be looking at solar plants and landfills. Yep, you heard right! The gasses formed from rotting garbage on landfills can be harnessed to produce electricity.
Johannesburg’s City Power has said that they’re still in the early stages of the initiative and that the process could take at least 2 years. Imagine uninterrupted gaming at your favourite online casino? We’d say 2 years is worth the wait!
Down in Cape Town, they’re planning to build a photovoltaic solar power plant by the end of 2023. This is in addition to other sustainable energy sources. Earlier this year though when the City took the energy minister to court for the right to source its own electricity the judge ruled that “further negotiations with the government should take place.”
All hope is not lost though. Cape Town’s executive director for energy and climate change, Kadri Nassiep, said in an email that “If all clarity is obtained and plans forge ahead, we could start seeing greater diversification of our energy resources as a city in about three to five years time.”
Nassiep furthermore said that “The City is looking at 300 megawatts of renewable energy” and that they plan on “putting out a tender for renewable-energy plants embedded in our grid in the next year”. He also stated that they “would like to source renewable energy from large independent power producers as soon as is feasible.”
Eskom is South Africa’s worst polluter, with approximately 40% of our greenhouse gas emissions attributed to their fleet of coal-fired power plants. The UK has about the same quantity of greenhouse gas emissions, yet their economy is 8 times larger than ours. Reducing Eskom’s grip on our electricity supply will not only benefit our economy, it will also have a positive contribution to climate change.
Lauren Hermanus, director of Adapt – a local sustainable energy consultancy firm – said, “Internationally many cities are at the forefront of dealing with climate-change disasters and so have adopted proactive climate-change responses. We are also all aware of Eskom’s related operational, governance and fiscal challenges, most clear in our bouts of load shedding.”
The takeaway here is that after 13 years of load shedding, leaving millions without electricity a few times a day, for hours at a time, the actual end to the nightmare is in sight. Discussions are being held, proposals are being put forward – and the bigwigs can no longer ignore the Cities or their citizens pleas.
The good news is that playing at our online casino doesn’t really require much power at all! If you’re playing at Springbok mobile casino, simply ensure that your device is charged and that you have mobile data – and you’re good to go. If you’re using your laptop or computer to play at our online casino, a power bank for your router, a UPS, an inverter or a good old generator can keep you going!