The South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC) says it is hugely disappointed to hear that the Department of Energy and NERSA have “seemingly rushed through a Section 34 determination for the procurement of 9600 MW of nuclear energy on the basis of the very outdated Integrated Resource Plan published in 2010”.
According to SAREC chair, Brenda Martin, the council is further disheartened by Eskom’s acting CEO’s (Matshela Koko’s) simultaneous announcement that the utility will release a nuclear Request for Proposals as soon as the determination is gazetted. Martin continued, saying that this is compounded by Eskom’s ongoing refusal to sign power purchase agreements with 37 renewable independent power producers, some of whom have had preferred bidder status for as long as 20 months.
The rushed timing of the ministerial determination is baffling, according to SAREC, given that the Department of Energy has just commenced a public participation process to update the IRP. The draft version of the DOE’s plan seriously questions whether nuclear power has a role to play in South Africa’s future generation mix with, at best, a requirement for additional nuclear power in 2037.
SAREC says that this irrational behaviour fans the flames of suspicion as to the real motives behind the nuclear campaign. Facts, logic and basic financial prudence simply do not support this determination. Martin said it appears that Eskom and an increasingly compliant Department of Energy are playing to a different set of rules. The organisation is of the opinion that South Africa’s long-term energy choices must be based on rational and transparent planning, and that energy policy makers must “walk this talk”.
Contact Brenda Martin, SAWEA, Tel 011 719-7744, firstname.lastname@example.org
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