In 2013, Boyan Slat began to question the large volumes of plastic accumulating in our oceans and why no one was doing anything to clean it up. At 16 years old, he began research into potential solutions to effectively recover and remove it

Renewable energy progress: SA vs. Germany

Germany has set a goal to derive 35% of their energy from renewable energy sources. Does South Africa compare as a country in terms of the projects we have embarked on and the amount of money we have invested?

Germany is a fantastic example of where the power of political will is very evident. They took a decision many years ago to embrace the green economy, particularly when it comes to their energy policies into the future, and they have done that. They have introduced policies such as feed-in tariffs, where anybody in Germany with roof space can install solar PV panels and can sell the electricity they generate back to the grid. We don’t have that in South Africa, and it would make a huge impact.

In South Africa we have a monopoly as a utility, while in Germany only 5% of the capacity generation comes from utilities. 75% comes from the man in the street – private individuals, people who have business with solar panels on their roofs and wind turbines on their farms. So it is a hugely different experience. The cost of renewable energy has become so cheap that a coal-fired power station can’t compare. In SA we have a bit of a problem: we have people saying the right words, but the policies aren’t actually mirroring the words being said.

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