For years, South Africa has been in the midst of a difficult situation. The country has been facing multiple total blackouts and energy shortages, resulting in a shrinking economy and a spike in mental health problems. Several elements contribute to this crisis, but many fingers are pointed squarely at Eskom, the primary energy supplier in the region.
Eskom has been unable to handle South Africa’s demand and need for energy. Its generation units are notorious for breaking down as they are both faulty and unable to handle power capacity. Naturally, this is causing disharmony in the nation. Let’s examine two problems triggered by Eskom’s inability to distribute electricity and consider methods of easing the suffering of the South African people.
The Effects of the Energy Crisis
One of the biggest problems caused by this situation relates to the economy. South Africa’s economic health is in significant decline, which has been (partially) caused by power cuts. The inability of businesses to rely on consistent electricity means that they cannot provide compatible products and services to their user base, which has naturally caused a decline in consumer confidence. It also harms South Africa’s standing on the world stage as businesses are understandably hesitant to work with South African companies due to their unreliable power sources. As a result, the country has plunged into a recession.
Another major issue caused by power outages is that they are triggering a mental health crisis. Claire Lownie, a psychiatrist from Sandton (Johannesburg’s financial center) has linked the energy crisis to an increase in mental health concerns, stating that it is “leading to feelings of hopelessness, which is associated with depression”. She further stated that South Africa’s inability to meet people’s basic needs, and the uncertainty it places on people’s lives is resulting in “abnormal behaviour” and “anxiety response[s]”. Overall, it is harming people’s state of mind, which is going to affect the social health of the nation.
What Can be Done?
With citizens struggling both economically and mentally, there is a feeling of abject despondency. There is pressure to look for a solution before the situation worsens even further. And with the traditional means of handling resources failing at the hands of Eskom, the public is looking for answers in more contemporary spaces.
One such space is the blockchain industry. People are excited to try newer systems and technologies with the hope of a brighter future. One project, in particular, has caught the attention of the masses– a blockchain company by the name of Megatech has altruistic plans to provide more energy to the country through a marriage of solar power and cryptocurrency.
The company owns a 60-megawatt solar farm which has a capacity of 100 MWh integrated storage, located in Hertzogville. Megatech aims to aid the crisis by using its solar farm to supplement the national grid and help Eskom manage the situation. To keep the farm running smoothly, they incentivise people from around the world to invest in it by offering specialized tokens (named MGT), which are backed by the company and the farm itself. In other words, Megatech have created a viable solution and is allowing the public to support and grow it by investing in it via cryptocurrency.
This is a perfect example of how contemporary innovations can fix the issues caused by traditional systems. Projects like Megatech have found a direct method of alleviating the stress of the country by distributing electricity and power in a more efficient way. This could not have come at a more necessary time, as the nation is suffering from ailments that can currently only be cured by greater management of its energy resources. It will be fascinating to see how Megatech, and others are able to aid South Africa in the near future.