Factual failures as clean energy debate goes nuclear
I am writing in response to “The case for nuclear: clean, inexhaustible, and, unlike solar and wind, always on” (November 4). The article by Knox Msebenzi is noted as the nuclear lobby’s response to the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) discussion.
The first truth in the debate is that it is impossible to have a rational discussion when the facts are not plain and clear. The IRP’s goal is to map out SA’s path to leastcost, reliable electricity supply. The model assumptions are clearly outlined in the document and explained.
The author indicates with a lack of factual information that solar, wind and gas are expensive or unreliable. Where is the factual basis for this? He also fails to note the role that gas will play in combating intermittency. This is also modelled in the IRP.
The costs of renewables are dropping because of innovation in manufacturing and scale. Swanson’s Law describes a 20% reduction in cost with a doubling of manufacturing scale. This has proved accurate over the past 30 years.
The only way to argue in favour of nuclear power in place of renewables and gas is to show that it is cheaper. Msebenzi has failed to make a cogent argument for nuclear power.
Dom Wills, CEO: SOLA Future Energy
Not pro-Earthers who are in a panic
The nuclear lobby is at it again. This time it is Knox Msebenzi who attempts to demolish what he calls the “anti-nuclear lobby”. I would like to instruct him that many of us are not anti-nuclear; we are pro-clean Earth.
He says that we who “peddle renewable energy” are in a state of panic. I would have thought this is his situation now that nuclear energy is off the table for the foreseeable future.
To say that the “Germans” have found renewables too expensive is to fly in the face of facts. In 2017 electricity from renewables in Germany grew by a record amount. Coal-power production fell noticeably, even as nuclear power fell — despite record exports.
Since the first nuclear reactor was shut down in 2003 as part of Germany’s nuclear phase-out, electricity from renewables has increased almost twice as much as nuclear power has shrunk. Coal power has also dropped. The lights have stayed on.
It has never been said that renewables will be all we need. It is back-up power that is almost free after the initial installation, does not pollute the air we breathe and is certainly not dangerous to our health as are both nuclear and coal. Laurence Prior, research fellow at Unisa
Biko would have hailed Pabasa
The creation of the Pan African Bar Association of SA (Pabasa) is a welcome development in the pursuit of black selfreliance.
It mirrors the 1968 move by black students led by Steve Biko when they moved out of the National Union of South African Students to create the South African Students Organisation (Saso), which for all intents and purposes was the real seed that germinated into the Broederbond realising the futility of apartheid and the National Party embarking on “reforms” from about 1978.
It is unfortunate that in all that is reported about Pabasa, no precedent is quoted by these men of law who utilise “precedent” so much in arguing their cases. It is probable that they have sucked too much of the reconstructed view of our past.
Authentic history will record that the formation of Saso was “the single most important development in the internal politics of SA in the period 1967-76”, as one Sam Nolutshungu stated in 1982. The creation of Saso led to the changes in the apartheid legal framework that progressed to approaches to the likes of Mandela in jail in the mid-’80s.
Let us hope the formation of Pabasa shall itself be the single most important development in the evolution of legal practice among Africans in SA.
That Pabasa should rise 25 years into democracy places Biko above all in terms of vision. No amount of propaganda and airbrushing can remove the fundamental truth, “black man, you are on your own”.
Dr Kenosi Mosalakae, Houghton
Blinkered view of VBS duties
One would assume that education enlightens, but hate-driven prejudice can override even a PhD. The doctor in the red overalls has illustrated this clearly.
He lashes out at the Reserve Bank for its lack of oversight and for failing to prevent the VBS bank heist. It is accused of being racist and not caring about black business.
I’d bet my bottom dollar that if the Reserve Bank had exercised any oversight while things were going well, it would have been accused of racism, interference and not trusting black bankers.
It is not the job of the Reserve Bank to baby-sit other banks. That is the duty and responsibility of the bank’s board of directors and auditors. Where were they when all the looting took place?
IC Fran, Wilderness
Parliament no place for porn stars
The embattled home affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba, is at it again. This time he showed his small finger to EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi during the debate on Tuesday in parliament. This is how he responds to those who criticise him after that embarrassing porn video.
There are no excuses for his childish behaviour. He is a disgrace, a clown who needs to excuse himself from the position of minister. He must go and be a porn star somewhere else, not in our parliament. We are not going to be led by porn stars.
Tom Mhlanga, Braamfontein
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