Sunday, July 29, 2007

Getting real power to the people

From The New York Times:

Power blackouts — “load shedding,” in utility jargon — are hardly novel in sub-Saharan Africa, where many electricity grids remain chewing-gum-and-baling-wire affairs. Even so, this year is different. Perhaps 25 of the 44 sub-Saharan nations face crippling electricity shortages, a power crisis that some experts call unprecedented.

The causes are manifold: strong economic growth in some places, economic collapse in others, war, poor planning, population booms, high oil prices and drought have combined to leave both industry and residents short of power when many need it most.

“We’ve had no significant capital injection into generation and transmission, from either the private or public sectors, for 15, maybe 20 years,” said Lawrence Musaba, the manager of the Southern African Power Pool, a 12-nation consortium of electricity utilities at the continent’s tip.

The implications go beyond candlelight suppers and extra blankets on beds. The lack of reliable power has already begun to hamper the region’s development, clipping more than 2 percent off the annual growth rates of the worst-hit African economies, according to the World Bank. Some nations, like Ghana, have tried to deal with their power crises by leasing huge teams of gas generators, producing emergency power at exorbitant rates until power plants can be built.

In Nigeria, Angola and some other nations, virtually all businesses and many residents run private generators to supplement faltering public service, saddling economies with added costs and worsening pollution.

“I’ve been on the 20th floor of an apartment building in Luanda, and there would be generators on all the verandas, with the racket, the fumes,” said Anton Eberhard, a former electricity regulator and an expert on power at the University of Cape Town. “And the lift isn’t working, because the main power supply is off.”

In normal times, South Africa’s muscular chain of power plants fills the gaps of its neighbors. But South Africa now could experience up to seven years of its own electricity shortages. Rolling blackouts blanketed parts of the country in January, and sporadic power failures have persisted since.

The gravity of this year’s shortage is all the more apparent considering how little electricity sub-Saharan Africa has to begin with. Excluding South Africa, whose economy and power consumption dwarf other nations’, the region’s remaining 700 million citizens have access to roughly as much electricity as do the 38 million citizens of Poland.

Much goes to industry: a single aluminum smelter near Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, gobbles four times as much power as the entire rest of Mozambique. On average, the World Bank says, fewer than one in four sub-Saharan Africans are hooked to national electricity grids.

Electrification is probably the single most important factor in uplifting the lives of peoples in the Third World. Plentiful, reliable and affordable electricity does not just make life easier it saves lives and eliminates suffering.

Much of Africa's electricity problems are caused by government corruption and incompetence and the effects of warfare. However the left, in its guise of global warming crusader, is attempting to prevent the electrification of Africa and other Third World nations.

These left-wing "watermelons" (red on the inside, green on the outside), who all seem to hail from advanced industrial nations, are secure in the knowledge that they will never contract tetanus because the region's only clinic lost its refrigeration due to a power failure causing all the vaccine to spoil. So since they have theirs apparently the niggers in Africa can just kiss their collective ass.

After all giving kids their shots is the kind of thing Christian [spit] missionaries used to do. Small potatoes for wannabe global secular messiahs. Global warming is the bandwagon for them to jump on. It offers many benefits including the chance to bash their own governments (who secure their freedom), capitalist business (which secures their prosperity) and, best of all in their eyes, they can play caring and sharing saviours of the planet without having to actually leave their air conditioned homes and actually go anywhere uncomfortable and actually touch any any of the little colored f**kers (like those Christian [spit] missionaries do [shudder]).

And people wonder why I think the world would be better off if all the leftists would up and decide to go find out if there's anything to this "life after death" business.

Of course the NYT is a moonbat rag so they have to offer their moonbat "solution" to Africa's energy problems:

There is an alternative: saving energy. Namibia plans a wind farm on its southern coast, while in South Africa, Eskom has handed out five million fluorescent bulbs and 140,000 insulating blankets for water heaters, and has paid industrial customers to switch off equipment during periods of high demand.

According to a recent study renewable energy sources like windfarms would do more harm than good. Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury and their manufacture generates more polution and consumes more energy than regular incandescent bulbs and insulating water heaters is good, but if the power isn't on to begin with it doesn't do much good.