Brian Dames, Eskom CEO, at the African Utility Week this morning says that "gas is clean."
What he means is that gas is cleaner to burn than coal. What he doesn't say is exactly how dirty it is to get gas out of the ground. And he also says that a national gas grid can be "easily" created. Amazing: what I've read suggests that if we go all out with gas in South Africa, we will be 12 years away from a real gas supply.
The other horrifying news which comes out of Dipuo Peters', Minister of Energy, budget speech today is that the government continues to support Nuclear as another clean way of powering South Africa. The word Nuclear appears 14 times in her speech; gas 10 times; renewable 10 times; roof-top PV once.
"Nuclear will help to leap-frog South Africa into the knowledge economy as well as massive industrial development." This at the same time that the rest of the world is dramatically reducing nuclear usage and moving to renewables and smart-grids. Note that electricity itself doesn't help leapfrog anyone. It is the results of this electricity. Nuclear will take around 15 years to build including EIA's, opposition processes, etc. Unless of-course the ANC gets its 2/3rds majority next year, in which case it will probably ignore environmental legislation and process.
And she says that South Africa has won awards for its incredible renewable energy program! It's a real pity though that this program completely ignores the small consumer and SMMEs, and their potential contribution to energy saving and production in South Africa.
In the meantime the levy that was instituted to pay for the Feed In Tariff (subsequently cancelled) will increase from 3.5c per kWh to 4.5c per kWh from July. Part of this levy is being used to pay for Solar Water Heaters.