Minister Gigaba’s Budget Speech, which contained no funding for a new nuclear build, should signal the death knell of the nuclear deal.
The time has come for Minister Mahlobo to accept that his attempt to deliver the nuclear deal has failed. With Zuma gone, he has outlasted his usefulness and should be removed from Cabinet without delay.
The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), that was apparently approved by the Zuma Cabinet in December, left the door open for a new nuclear build. This was despite every credible study rejecting new investment in nuclear as part of the IRP and recommending investment in renewables and gas instead.
We call on President Ramaphosa to put a stop to the gazetting of Mahlobo’s IRP. Instead, Minister Mahlobo should be removed from office and a new Minister appointed to ensure that the new IRP is based on the latest cutting-edge modelling and research.
In an ideal world, the Department of Energy should:
- Appoint an independent entity to do the technical modelling work, such as the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR);
- Let that entity determine the latest least cost electricity mix up to 2050 and make that the base case;
- Let that entity calculate the cost implications of certain policy decisions that might deviate from the base case;
- In parallel, have the findings and the model independently reviewed by an additional expert party;
- Hold a proper and meaningful public consultation on the basis of the aforementioned costed base case and the costed deviations from the base case;
- Centred on that, decide on policy adjustments (if any) and publish the final IRP.
Given that a large amount of work has already been completed by the department, CSIR and Eskom on these points, we would suggest that Eskom and the CSIR provide its technical work and least-cost scenarios to the department that would then compile a condensed version of the IRP. This condensed least-cost IRP would then be provided to the public and energy committee for comment and once that has been completed, a final version can be sent to the Cabinet for approval. We cannot afford to waste time as the energy sector requires clarity and direction on energy policy as soon as humanly possible.
We need an IRP that favours clean, reliable energy at the lowest cost. We don’t need a nuclear deal and, as Minister Gigaba has made clear, we cannot afford it. So let’s shut the door on this corrupt nuclear deal once and for all.