For the past few years I have had the privilege of providing and managing the content of Spintelligent’s ESI Africa platform. However, nothing remains and should remain static and I believe in the journalistic adage of turning myself over before becoming stale. In addition, after some 20 years of working on and doing different publications in mining, energy, engineering, science and technology, the time has come to move on and pursue new directions.

I leave ESI Africa and its dynamic (the use of the term here is genuine and not a platitude) publishing team lead by Philip Vander Gucht (publisher) and Claire Volkwyn (content director) after completing the second print edition (also available digitally) of 2014 due out later this month. Backed by the multinational Clarion group, Philip, Claire and the rest of the team have the ambition to take the ESI platform to another level and embrace the full range of technologies and options the changing publishing and media environment offer.

Speaking of changing environments, it is impossible to overstate the importance of the energy sector. The progress humanity has made over the past centuries is closely connected with the widespread use of fossil fuels. Today the global power sector has to deal with climate change concerns linked to the use of these fossil fuels. Further, new power generation technologies are rising affecting how people look at grids and the distribution of power; and the whole sector is changing in the face of the risks and opportunities presented by the evolution of information technology. How all this will evolve will be interesting and unpredictable.

Within this global context, South Africa and Africa has its own priorities in the power sector, or should have. Like the rest of the continent, South Africa, where ESI is based (though its focus extends fully into Africa and is continuously looking at trends beyond), has insufficient reliable baseload power. I strongly urge all stakeholders in South Africa and across the continent to remove all impediments to achieving widespread access to the cheapest possible reliable power.

If the continent can make affordable electricity available to its people it will rapidly climb the technological ladder and improve the socio-economic conditions of hundreds of millions of its population – if it does not, it will not.

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