4 May 2012

South Africa: Durban to Be First African City to Generate Electricity From Sea

Photo: ThisParticularGreg/Flickr
Indian Ocean seen from Durban.

The South African eastern port city Durban plans to generate electricity from the sea. The project being driven by Durban municipality and businesses aims to generate electricity by using the famous fast flowing Agulhas current.

The Agulhas current is the Western Boundary Current of the southwestern Indian Ocean, flowing down the east coast of South Africa with the properties of being narrow, swift and strong. It is believed that it is the largest boundary current in the world ocean.

An energy expert in Durban Municipality said the city of Durban uses about 3000 MW at peak power, while the energy potential in the ocean current is limitless.

The project is expected to cost about more than 150 million rands (about 20 million U.S. dollars) in the first stage with the technicians installing the floating generators, which could be powered by the swift current, said the project's main sponsor Durban Investment Promotion Agency (DIPA).

The DIPA said the project is a milestone, "If the ocean current generation is to happen, Durban will become the first African city to generate electricity by the sea."

The agency is evaluating the project's environmental impact on the sea, including death, injury or disruption for mammals, such as whales, dolphins and other sea creatures, the DIPA said.

The DIPA believes the project will promote the sustainable energy developments of the city. "The Agulhas current is one of the most consistent currents in the world, if it could be used to generate electricity, Durban would become an ideal location to start harnessing it. If we can get it right, it has the potential to completely transform the city into a green energy location for investment, "said an official of the Durban energy department.


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