Saturday 13 July 2013 17:25

Ulrich Hendriks

Northern Cape farmers planning to switch to green energy say they can contribute electricity to the national grid when it is most needed.

They say electricity costs have risen by an average of 35% in the last 8 years and that this is partly to blame for farming becoming unprofitable. They called on Eskom to find ways to assist them.

With a higher-than-average number of sunny days, any farm in the Lower Orange River region is a potential power plant.

Electricity costs have sky-rocketed in the last few years, forcing farmers to look for alternative and cheaper energy sources.  Solar energy has been identified as the best option.

“We have a surplus in the winter months when Eskom is struggling to meet demand and we can then use that electricity during the summer when it is our peak time,” says Agri-Northern Cape’s Nicol Jansen.

Danie Coetzee bought this farm as a way of keeping busy after retirement. Most of his operations are now green.

“The input cost is much cheaper and it makes farming more profitable in the future,” he says.

Eskom says it will look at ways for farmers to connect safely to the national grid. The cost of green farming is about R10 000 per hectare, but with a 25-year plus lifespan once the infrastructure is paid off, farmers can enjoy free electricity and provide for others.

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