First of all, congratulations and happy 89th birthday to the incomparable Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest leaders in our modern era. For the residents of Nelson Mandela bay, South Africa, July 2007 also marks another important event in their lives--their municipality made history on July 4th as "...the first local authority in the country to kick-start renewable energy projects valued at billions of rands, aimed at providing its residents with reliable and affordable alternative energy." Reporting on this revolutionary achievement, Max Matavire of Solar Intelligence explains:
Four renewable energy contracts were signed between the municipality and a consortium of companies led by Lereko Sustainability and the Central Energy Fund, bringing to an end months of highly technical negotiations. The consortium will be involved in three of the four projects, but one will be done jointly with Straits Group, which is already involved in the multi-million rand chemical plant to be built at Coega IDZ. The actual projects to be implemented in two to three months are the demand side management, also called energy efficiency, the solar water geyser project and the landfill gas in which methane gas is to be utilised. The fourth project...which will be finalised in the “near future” [will utilize] wind energy from the wind farms and small scale hydro electricity projects.
In these times of climate change and energy insecurity, it is good to see Nelson Mandela bay residents and leaders blazing a clean energy path to a sustainable future. They must have been inspired, no doubt by some of that vision, wisdom and courage that Mandela brought, and continues to bring to African--nay--global society, politics, and life. As we celebrate this 89th year of his life, we wish him continued good health and happiness for many, many more years to come.