07 December 2010

The Energy Challenge in One Figure

Last week the FT had a special section on South African Power and Energy.  The report included the excellent graphic shown above (click on it to enlarge).  The graphic shows that in the very near term -- perhaps in the current decade -- South Africa has a huge gap between what it needs in energy supply and what it currently has planned to meet those needs, which are projected to just about double in the next 20 years or less.

South Africa might be considered as representative of the broader global situation, where energy demand growth is being driven by the so-called "developing" countries.  South Africa is going to have enough of a challenge keeping the lights on, much less decarbonizing its economy at a rapid rate. Energy innovation and consequent decarbonization are much broader issues than simply climate change.