The Cape Chamber is delighted to see that the new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2016) says there is no need for more nuclear power in South Africa before 2037.
This means that we will not have to make a decision on building new nuclear power stations for the next 10 years and by that time we will be in a better position to judge the performance and cost of renewable energy.
The delay would also allow us to watch the progress of technology and in 2027 the picture could be quite different.
The IRP was in line with the assessments of energy experts (who are not part of the nuclear lobby) and the CSIR.
The report contained many assumptions on costs and demand forecasts and these would have to be carefully interrogated.
What we now need to see is the report of Ministerial Advisory Council on Energy (MACE) to compare their scenarios with those in the IRP.
One worrying factor about the new IRP was that it did not include a scenario in which there were no artificial restraints on renewable energy and the effect this would have on the case for nuclear power.
We know that the CSIR study concluded that renewable energy supported by gas could meet all South Africa’s electricity needs. If the MACE report confirms this then the expensive nuclear option could fall away altogether.
President of the Cape Chamber