In the budget vote in the National Assembly yesterday ACDP’s Cheryllyn Dudley MP said:
“Most people in South Africa realise we are facing challenges in meeting our high energy demand. As defined by the Minister of Energy, Dipuo Peters, and the Minister in the Presidency, responsible for the National Planning Commission, Trevor Manual, this includes ensuring energy security and efficiency; competitive energy pricing; and encouraging growth while reducing carbon emissions in the sector.
Too much demand and insufficient supply means in the short term that NERSA will be forced to grant further price hikes to Eskom and Eskom's power will become dismally uncompetitive compared to natural gas derived power in nations which are geared to trade on world markets.
Mozambique’s major gas discoveries signal some hope as potentially they could mean economic growth and energy security for South Africa and SADC. Although preliminary indications are that the gas will likely be exported primarily to East Asia; particularly China and India, it is early enough for South Africa to gain a foothold in this new area of extraction.
The availability of natural gas and its global trade is a major game changer in the global energy market. The ACDP welcomes the Minister’s statement that the national pipeline distribution network has been developed. We note however that it has cost far in excess of that which was expected.
The ACDP calls for a thorough investigation of the role that gas could play in the energy sector. Gas emits about half the amount of pollution that coal does for the same amount of electricity generated and as an energy feedstock for the production of synthetic fuels could also serve to decrease South Africa's exorbitant carbon emissions. An energy sector that increases the role of gas as an input would not only be beneficial for South Africa but would be a positive move towards regional integration and attaining energy security within SADC.
A subject of widespread attention has been the hydrogen vehicle. Using coal derived electricity to produce the hydrogen electrolytically as they do in California would not be necessary because we have our own technologies, which we can - with sufficient resource - develop. We have more than sufficient sunlight for the delivery of LNG (liquefied natural gas) for own consumption as well as export!
have also developed innovative technologies to extract atmospheric water using solar power to provide adequate volumes for communities in arid areas; technologies that can be fast tracked in terms of commercialisation to address the needs of tomorrow adequately. The alternative of paying high prices for technologies that have not worked in Europe and America will leave us with large numbers of our people still without adequate and low cost power and water supplies.
The Former Prime Minister of Japan, apologised last month for accepting nuclear power while he was in office…saying it was imprudent and a failure. And the French Court of Auditors recently found that nuclear power, in which France is a leader, costs more than that which electricity consumers in the country are charged. The completion of the second EPR plant currently under construction in France has been delayed from 2006 to 2016, and costs have risen by more than 50 percent due to the new safety requirements after Fukushima.
The department’s Integrated Resource Plan of 2010 forsees a spend of over R1-trillion on a nuclear fleet of six AREVA reactors, as well as a uranium enrichment plant, a fuel assembly plant, a reprocessing plant, and a high-level waste repository - probably