South Africa's Dirty Energy

Bringing modern energy services to South Africa's deprived majority doesn't have to mean simply expanding the now obsolete coal-based system built for the nation's white minority. Few societies ever have a chance to reinvent themselves without first suffering civil war or economic collapse. But South Africa, a country that is still largely in the Third World, may be able to "leapfrog" beyond the "coal age" and by the year 2020, South Africa's energy system could be operating at three times its current efficiency. Grid electricity could be provided via a combination of generators burning natural gas and agricultural waste, thousands of wind turbines, and solar power plants. Millions of off-grid, energy efficient passive solar homes would rely on their own solar generators. Scholand illustrates how such an energy strategy could reset the course of development throughout the continent.