21/07/2014 – ACDP calls for full inquiry into current state of nuclear industry

ACDP Parliament
Energy Budget Vote
Cheryllyn Dudley, MP and Whip

ACDP calls for full inquiry into current state of nuclear industry

“Chairperson,

When South Africa has a clear Development Plan – and growth is the objective – suggestions that Eskom’s customers save electricity are hard to swallow!  Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s reference to South Africa’s tight energy supply damaging the economy seems more to the point.

The ACDP welcomes the expansion of renewable energy in the country with the new solar power plant near Kimberley and the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm of sixty turbines which is exceeding its expected 41% capacity factor and will feed around 460 thousand Megawatts a year into South Africa’s grid. This programme at Jeffrey’s Bay has raised a lot of investor interest and a clearer commitment by government in terms of the long-term scale of the ‘Renewables Procurement Programme’ would help to allay investor uncertainty.

The ACDP commends all concerned on the 47 renewable energy projects concluded in 2012 and 2013, which included the first South African utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) facility, in the Northern Cape.  We also commend the City of Cape Town for signing an agreement for the establishment of a pilot plastics-to-oil plant at its Kraaifontein integrated waste-management facility but…and this is a big but…why a foreign firm when there are local solutions which just require funding?

Government support only for commercialisation of already developed technologies is seriously problematic as many South African inventors have come up with innovative solutions to our problems.  With sufficient resources to develop, we would have more than sufficient sunlight for the delivery of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for own consumption as well as export – and to extract atmospheric water using solar power to provide for communities in arid areas.

Two years ago the ACDP was hopeful that government would move on the potential of the Rovuma Basin gas find in Mozambique. 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 carbon emissions.  Hon Minister, why does the revised 20-year energy draft plan seem to ignore the vast Rovuma Basin? It is the world’s fourth-largest known natural gas deposit, and could solve Eskom’s immediate energy crisis and avoid the costly construction of a third new coal power station – surely a pipeline is the most sensible thing and it should absolutely be in the IRP.

Another concern Hon Minister is the current status of the new nuclear build – there is a need for greater clarity and the ACDP is calling on you for a full inquiry into the current state of our existing nuclear industry. Koeberg has passed its sell-by date and increasingly been shut-down for repairs at huge cost, and the department seems to want to extend its life, just as with SAFARI-1, whilst nuclear reactors the world over that were built in the same era have officially been closed.

Lastly, I am also going to use the ‘f’ word -‘fracking’.  The ACDP expected far greater opportunity to be provided to thoroughly investigate all issues related to shale gas in South Africa. If hearings are not held and taken seriously the resulting actions could be challenged in the constitutional court.  The ACDP calls on you Hon Minister to ensure that government urgently embarks on an Environmental Impact, Social and Health Assessment in this regard.

The ACDP will support this vote in the interests of going forward but we have many reservations.”

-ENDS-

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