With Eskom negotiating with the World Bank for a US$5 billion dollar loan to finance a part of its planned R1 trillion expansion plan, there is an urgent need to assess Eskom’s current build plan in the sober light of financial long-term health. Eskom’s current plans are for increased investment in coal-fired power stations and nuclear plants. These plants have life expectancies of between 40-60 years.
The attached Sustainable Energy Briefing will summarise recent research into the costs of renewable energy versus fossil fuel energy. This research indicates that the cost of building renewable energy is cheaper (or at par) with that of fossil fuels and without the consideration of externalised costs.
In addition, the unit cost of electricity will be examined. In the next 15 years or less, the unit cost of renewable energy will be less than that of conventional energy. This statement (perhaps one of the most important statements in the energy sector today) has the logical consequence that Eskom’s continued reliance on coal will result in higher than necessary energy prices. Once again, these calculations do not include externalised costs such as carbon emissions, poor air quality, waste storage, and acid rain.
Finally, this issue will outline the faulty economics of nuclear power. Simply put, nuclear power may be the altar upon which this country bankrupts itself.
Download the SE Briefing: sustainable-energy-briefing-17-final