“Bantamsklip” is the name given to a spot on a pristine coastline near Gansbaai, on the southwestern Overberg coast in South Africa, which had been considered as a site for a nuclear plant.
Bantamsklip is also an NPO (081-484 NPO) united in the belief that the proposed siting of a nuclear plant at Bantamsklip was inappropriate and ill advised.
Bantamsklip is significant; as a symbol that compels us to make a choice. The choice between ‘Business As Usual’ – the conventional practices on fossil based energy creation and drifting with uncertainty into the future or to adopt a vision of ‘Energy Transition’ for this semi-rural area Overberg as a model for developing a sustainable society, in a comprehensive sense of the term in which electricity generation plays a role. In other words Bantamsklip is a trigger that forces us to consider the broader issue of other options available for energy generation. This then creates the space for the debate about our energy future and, specifically, sustainable energy generation. The question is:
- What kind of South Africa (and what kind of world) do we want to live in by 2030, and what energy technologies and strategies will get us there?
- How much is it going to cost and what are the externalized costs to the environment and to future generations?
- Who is going to benefit in terms of jobs and skills?
- What energy path is the safest and simplest?
- What is the most effective way to address climate change?
The model we envisage and work towards is energy co-operatives in the Overberg. Find here a short overview on how an Energy Cooperative may look like in 2020:
The essential element in establishing this energy cooperative is to become self-reliant in the provision and production of electricity. Presently we are almost exclusively reliant on Eskom for the generation of electricity and Eskom and the local municipalities in the distribution of this electricity. The amount of money paid for electricity by the Stanford community to the local authority (and Eskom) is around R 8 million per year. This money leaves the community.
To achieve this we will have to work very closely with the municipalities (who own the grid and provide upgrading and maintenance services).
But it is not a ‘business’ that works for shareholders that lives elsewhere. The members are the shareholders. The members decide how to run the cooperative and what to invest in and how the ‘surplus’ is to be distributed. The members decide on the strategy of the cooperative and appoint management to run the cooperative.
The cooperative will establish a number of renewable energy projects. Solar panels on the roofs of some of the larger buildings in a town or village, one or two large wind turbines on municipal land or local farms and perhaps a bio-mass electricity generator in the industrial area. The Cooperative will have to enter into contracts with a given local municipality, land owners and land lords of large buildings. The intention is that the cooperative will be owner of these technologies. The landlord may be given a special deal on the electricity provided by wind or sun on the property.
The cooperative will ensure the installation and maintenance of these technologies and in this way create more jobs and ensure control over its productive assets.
Capital will have to be raised to fund this cooperative. Different sources of capital are available:
- Membership fees; members may be producers and consumers
- Bank loans; private banks as well as development banks
- State funding
- Donor funding