There is an energy revolution on the way - Stellenbosch Professor

BY: Allison Jeftha - 21 Oct 21 2018

The reality is renewables are much cheaper than fossil fuels and investment in renewables have thus increased, according to Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Stellenbosch, Mark Swilling.  

He was speaking at the Planning Africa 2018 conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Monday.

The conference is taking place under the theme “The making of modern African cities”.

In his presentation which focused on climate change, Swilling pointed to renewables as being energy efficient and ultimately the better option compared to coal.

"Investment in renewables has increased, there is an energy revolution on the way," said Swilling.

Swilling also referenced the concept of urban metabolism, which can be described as a model to facilitate complex urban systems' flows such as materials and energy within cities, as if the city was an ecosystem.

It can be used to analyse how urban areas function with regard to resource use and the underlying infrastructures, and the relationship between human activities and the natural environment.

Swilling said that linear metabolism cities consume more resources and create waste at a higher level.

Linear metabolism cities consume coal, oil and nuclear energy, which harms the environment more as it results in organic waste such as landfills, as well as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and inorganic waste.

Circulative metabolism cities, however,  recycle materials and organic waste, which results in reduced waste and pollution.

"Cities that are lighter consume less, different energy," he said.

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