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Koeberg power station contributes billions to SA economy - Brown

Mar 30 2017 12:20
Liesl Peyper

Koeberg - Koeberg power station contributed R29bn to the gross domestic product of the Western Cape and R23bn to the rest of the South African economy between 2013 and 2016, according to Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.

Brown was the keynote speaker on Thursday at the presentation in Koeberg of a KPMG study on the impact of Koeberg on the economy.

“The KPMG assessment,” Brown said, “is not intended to persuade anyone to alter their philosophical views on nuclear power; it is meant to inform. For me, what's important now is not proving whether nuclear is preferable to coal, or renewables to gas.”

Brown said South Africa’s energy mix is a matter of national policy; it’s important to understand the complexity of the journey, “and just how much is on the line”.

“Besides keeping the lights burning, it is important that we understand the impacts power stations have on our economy and our lives – and not only nuclear power stations, but all power stations.

Can 'almost single-handedly carry entire communities'

“They generate jobs, and they generate work for the construction industry, for maintenance teams, and for the producers of a multitude of goods and services. They stimulate - and sometimes carry almost single-handedly - entire local economies and communities.”

Brown said it is indeed a complex undertaking to move over from a decades-long dependency on the coal industry to an energy mix.

“You would have seen the recent protest action in Pretoria by coal truck drivers angry about the imminent closure of four ageing coal-powered stations in Mpumalanga,” Brown said.

READ: Coal truckers demand slowdown in govt IPP programme

On the same day, the high hourt in Pretoria effectively blocked the development of a new coal-fired power station because its impact on climate change had been considered.

“Certainly, we are dealing with issues much more complex than deciding whether to build a few windfarms or nuclear power stations.”

She said a number of factors need to be taken into consideration, such as:

• environmental factors, including the cost of compliance with reduced emissions requirements;

• requirements to keep electricity available – including at peak times, rain or shine – and affordable;

• how to maximise the production of parts and equipment for the renewable industry in South Africa; and

• programmes to re-skill coal industry workers so that South Africa ultimately sees a net jobs gain in the power generating industry rather than job losses.

Brown urged the gas and renewable energy sectors to commission impact studies similar to the KPMG study on Koeberg to gain credible information as South Africa embarks on moving from a predominantly coal-powered economy to an energy mix that will include coal, renewable, gas and nuclear power.


lynne brown  |  koeberg  |  power  |  jobs  |  energy  |  nuclear
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