November 2015 – As Africa’s leading ecotourism and conservation company, Wilderness Safaris continues to pioneer the way by demonstrating its commitment to combatting climate change and implementing various sustainable energy solutions in almost all of its wilderness camps across Africa.
Fiercely committed to protecting our planet’s precious natural and cultural resources, Wilderness Safaris places a premium on ensuring that its operations are sustainable and supported by its 4Cs ethic (Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce). It is the Conservation C that inspires Wilderness Safaris to invest in maximising the positive impacts arising from its activities, while at the same time implementing measures to reduce any negative impacts.
Sustainable energy usage is therefore a natural priority for the business and great strides have been made in this arena, with 11 Wilderness Safaris camps currently operating on 100% solar power, totalling 3 000 kW/h (kilowatt per hour) per day of power production. Further to this, there are 36 camps with solar-inverter hybrid systems, reducing generator usage by about 50%. There are also a number of camps using smaller individual solar arrays for each guest unit or one single larger array to run the front of house only, totalling an additional 277kW/h per day of power production. The company also has 729 solar geysers or solar thermodynamic geysers in place throughout its operations, further reducing the need for reliance on generators or electricity, and saving a total of 2 916 kW/h a day.
“Regular geysers may typically operate for two hours a day in our wilderness camps, and usually contain a 2 kW electrical element. This means that the introduction of and ongoing conversion to solar geysers – 729 units to date – results in a saving of 4 kW/h saving per day. This has translated into a substantial saving across the Group of 1 064 340 kW/h annually, equal to 514.6 tonnes of coal a year. We are extremely proud of our ongoing dedication to sustainable energy and doing what we can to combat the effects of climate change”, says Warren Ozorio, Wilderness Safaris Group Sustainability Coordinator.
When considering the energy saving generated by the use of 100% solar plants and hybrid plants, and working on six hours of energy production per day (the standard for the southern hemisphere), this works out to 93 000 kW/h for 100% solar-operated camps and 16 585 kW/h for those operating on hybrid plants each month. Tallying these savings up results in a combined saving of 2 379 360 kW/h each year, which translates into an estimated 868 379 litres of diesel fuel saved on an annual basis. This is certainly a significant move away from reliance on fossil fuels, which is a key priority for Wilderness Safaris.
“Our quest to embrace sustainable energy will not stop here and plans are on track to retrofit additional camps with solar power. Our latest camp to be retrofitted to operate on 100% solar power was Vumbura Plains in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. This is a 105 kW system, which equates to 630kW/h per day of power production”, Ozorio added.
Click here to view a summary of Wilderness Safaris’ Sustainable Energy Programme to date.