Under the plan, the country's energy mix in 2030 would rely on nuclear for 14% of electricity, renewable energy for 16% and coal for 48%, with the remaining 22% coming from a mix of local and imported hydropower and different gas technologies. The turn toward nuclear would be a major shift in energy policy for South Africa, which currently has just one nuclear plant whose two reactors generate about 6% of its electricity. The government will consider opening nuclear power generation to the private sector to help cover the cost of building new plants, which can cost up to $15-billion depending on capacity.
The draft plan also analyses a "low-carbon scenario" that would include 36% coal-sourced electricity, 32% renewables and 12% nuclear. But planners found that programme would drive up costs by 50% and cut carbon emissions by just 10% more than the "balanced scenario" the draft plan endorses.
Magubane believes South Africa cannot afford to put green energy ahead of economic development and the country needs outside assistance in the fight against climate change. (Mail & Guardian, 10/17/2010)