18 August 2015
South Africa is in a dire situation where the demand for energy is exceeding the supply and delays at Medupi and Kusile power stations will ensure that load shedding will remain for quite some time to come.
The nuclear power stations that the South African government is proposing to build will come online way to late to solve the energy crises facing the country today.
The cost of the nuclear deal is going to be around R 1 trillion and could end up costing way more with secrecy surrounding the deal and concerns about possible corruption, and will be paid for by South Africans through huge increases in the price of electricity.
South Africa’s only real hope for a short term solution is massive investment into renewable energy and to take heed of Germany’s transition from fossil fuels to renewables.
Germany the worlds 5th largest economy, decided that renewable energy will power the country into the future as the nation is especially vulnerable as it imports much of its energy.
A few years ago, Russia discontinued its natural gas supply to Ukraine, which also affected downstream western European countries.
The recent armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has only worsened the situation.
In western Europe, Germany is by far the largest importer of gas from Russia and only produces around 15 % of its own natural gas, importing roughly 40 % from Russia.
“The more energy a country gets from within its own borders, the less vulnerable it is to such political disruptions, for which it may not even be responsible,” says German energy website Energy Transition.
Renewable energy has reduced Germany’s dependency on energy imports, making Germany less vulnerable to unpredictably fluctuating prices for fossil fuels and to political influence from abroad.
Net-generation from renewable energy sources in the German electricity grid has increased from 6.3 % in 2000 to about 30 % in 2014.
South Africa needs to make similar decisions and utilize the vast sun farm that is the Karoo, as well as the wind belts along the coastline.
We can make decisions today that can positively impact the generations to come.