Energy Conference: SA needs a balance between different sources of energy

Nuclear physicist says country needs to be realistic in that coal and nuclear will be SA’s primary energy sources for foreseeable future

South Africa needs a balance between different sources of energy – let us be realistic

14 November 2022 

Today, at an energy conference in Cape Town at the Vineyard Hotel, organised by the Afrikaner Africa Initiative (AAI), dr Kelvin Kemm, a nuclear physicist and Chairperson of Stratek Global, said that the country has to be realistic.

He said that, for the foreseeable future, the primary energy source of the country would remain coal and nuclear. A rapid and chaotic transition to renewables energy could spell disaster for South Africa’s economy and would greatly compromise the future of the poorest in our society who are dependent on reliable and affordable power.

He stated that economic growth was essential, and that realistic sense had to prevail.

Kemm stated that over time it was his opinion that coal would steadily be replaced by nuclear but that this would happen over time.

He also stressed that African countries should implement sensible energy policies that puts Africa’s energy interests first.  Small Modular Nuclear Technology is now considered clean energy and will play an increasingly important role in the changing energy environment. So will other renewable energy technology, such as wind and solar, become an increasing part of the energy mix. All policy decisions should, however, not compromise Africa’s need to develop and create jobs in an ordered fashion.

He pointed out that South Africa has developed Small Modular Reactors, which is ideal for not only South Africa but also for other African countries.

He stressed that South Africans are highly competent in the field and appealed to African governments to develop the political will to rapidly advance this technology.

He pointed out that South Africa is far in advance of other countries in Europe and in Asia in the development of Small Modular Reactor technology and that we are proud world leaders in nuclear technology.

The conference – organised by the AAI, an organisation that is promoting closer cooperation between communities in South Africa – was officially opened by the Mayor of Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis. Jan Oberholzer, Chief Operating Officer of Eskom, spoke about Eskom’s operations in a developing energy landscape.

Jacob Maroga, a past Chief Executive Officer of Eskom and now a director of Erinite Energy, spoke about the role of renewable energy in expanding universal access to electricity.

Various other international and domestic speakers provided opinions on how municipalities could be directly involved in assisting their citizens to access reliable energy.

Issued by Kelvin Kemm, Chairperson, Stratek Global (Pty) Ltd, 14 November 2022