Renewables everywhere thrive on the fair and open competition that no new nuclear plant has achieved anywhere. Nuclear costs are murky, rising, and augmented by the long-term burdens of decommissioning the radioactive plants and storing their wastes for millennia. In contrast, renewable energy costs are transparent and falling.
The Zuma government's determination to see through a nuclear power programme for decades in South Africa makes no sense, especially when all the evidence points to renewable energy being not only cheaper to build and maintain but also being more environmentally friendly. It is also good for the economy and has socio-economic benefits - creating jobs and uplifting previously disadvantaged communities through ownership and equity ownership of renewable energy projects.
While the 2010-11 Plan was rapidly going out of date and stakeholders debated what South African renewable electricity might cost, South Africa's DoE launched a bold experiment to substitute market data for speculationi. By end-2017 its pioneering auctions or open-tenders had resulted in the selection of 6.3 GW of renewable energy projects of which 3.2 GW had been constructed and connected to the grid (with average lead times of 1.6 years, one-sixth nuclear power's...