Radebe leaves Nuke Door open for Energy Security

Energy Mister Jeff Radebe

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Energy Minister Jeff Radebe admitted on Thursday that it may be a few more months before he is able to take to Cabinet a plan for SAs future energy mix.  And only then will there be a decision on a future nuclear build, reported South Africa The Messenger

He had held a media briefing to announce that the Department of Energy is still not ready to announce an updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) “which is key towards ensuring there is no policy uncertainty.  It will be an overarching planning framework for electricity, liquid fuels and gas.”

When asked about the possible trillion rand nuclear build, he noted that an earlier approach to forming international partnerships had been ruled unconstitutional.

“We have to look at this within this context.  We have embarked on a consultation process on the IRP which will indicate the energy mix.  The nuclear build will be determined by (the) IRP.”

There has been extensive criticism of the planned nuclear build, which was promoted by former President Jacob Zuma, who appeared to favour the Russians as international partners.

Radebe was introduced as SA’s longest-serving Cabinet Minister, and had served under Zuma.

President Ramaphosa is seeking new investment in SA of $100bn, and Radebe said some of this will come in energy projects.

He noted that agreements were signed recently for a series of private sector renewable energy projects, which will be worth R56bn, and he said that there will be other opportunities for investment, and empowerment, in the energy sector.

He said a gas-to-power programme at Coega and Richards Bay, which has been announced but not advanced, “is on our radar scheme. This is on our radar screen, it is a thing that is right to do for SA. It will increase investment in the SA economy.

“It is also our intention to build a refinery. We cannot just sit by. We need to do something for our own energy security of supply.”

However, potential investors are likely to worry that with yet another consultation on the long-delayed IRP, government is further delaying announcements which will bring clarity and certainty to unlock private sector investments in the SA energy sector.

The Department of Energy oversees some of the most troubled parastatals, including the hopelessly mismanaged and loss-making Petro SA.

Radebe said an audit report was imminent, and this would form the foundation for a clean-up.