The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has reiterated its stand against the procurement of nuclear energy today, after the publication of an investigation into the current pricing models used by Eskom to forecast costs was released earlier this week.

Researchers at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research conducted a study that takes a hard look at the assumptions made in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010 that was released in 2011.

The results were presented this week and reveal that two assumption made in the original IRP have changed since they were first published. The first is that energy demand is significantly lower than previously thought and the second – perhaps most pertinent point – is that the cost of photo voltaic solar power (PV) and wind power are far lower than expected.

OUTA  chair person, Wayne Duvenhage has said that the research presented by the CSIR shows that no new nuclear or coal-fired power plants are required by South Africa and that programmes by Eskom to setup nuclear and new coal power plants were driven by “outdated demand and technology pricing in the IRP 2010-2020”.

Duvenage claims that Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson is allowing Eskom to drive its nuclear build program without an updated IRP.

“Using latest demand forecasts and pricing plus efficiency of renewable energy in the forms of solar and wind, with a blend of Gas for base power stability, South Africa’s electricity needs will be more than catered for, as will the ability to reduce the nation’s electricity tariffs,” OUTA said in a statement.

OUTA also points out that in light of this research Eskom’s Multi Year Price Determination (MYPD) warrants closer inspection. “We believe the MYPD methodology now requires extreme scrutiny as this process has become a farce and enables Eskom to push up the country’s electricity tariffs amidst a false energy demand and pricing environment,” Duvenhage said.

OUTA’s next step will be to present Minister Joemat-Pettersson with a civil society call to halt all future new energy requirement decisions until a credible, transparent and rational IRP update is done. The organisation has said that should Minister not comply she may be accused of being remiss in her duties and responsibilities to the people of South Africa.

[Image – CC BY 2.0 Frank de Kleine]