Shale gas energises government

Mail and Guardian 14 September 2012.

Despite severe criticism from environmentalists, the state is punting shale gas as a greener way to secure South Africa’s future electricity supply.

Shale gas will probably be part of South Africa’s future energy mix. The moratorium on exploration is gone and, barring serious and irreconcilable environmental issues, it could be getting your kettle to bubble away in a decade. But by then other power sources could be so cheap that shale gas will not be able to compete…

(Editor’s note: And if we wait for SA shale gas, in about 2022, and continue to drag our heels on renewables, this will mean a third new coal plant. Even if we started now, a new nuclear plant wouldn’t be ready in time to fill the energy gap. We need a faster renewable energy roll out plus, probably, gas-fired turbines using imported LNG. Interesting opinion from Ferrial Adams of Greenpeace, she advocates skipping shale gas and continuing to use coal until green energy can take over! I think conventional natural gas in the form of imported LNG, is a better transition route than coal.)


One thought on “Shale gas energises government

  1. The first thing to decide, I believe is the type of development we want, informed by peak oil and climate change. It is time to recognise that the present economic paradigms, inherit from the apartheid time was not informed by the above issues nor by the need to decrease poverty, inequality and unemployment of the majority, It was meant to develop capital and not human, therefore the need to build up large centralised base load for large and very large consumer which drive energy policies and keep the sector closed to the small ones and not to decentralise and build up local economy and wealth on local resources and capacity.

    The latter paradigms would change the whole energy equation as it would require an open energy sector, decentralised and small power unit, which could be powered from local renewables and by anybody . The question is therefore do we really need base load (be nuclear, gas or coal) in this new paradigms ?

    t is very clear that the latest Govt. decisions regarding energy investments, namely nuclear, fracking and coal are squarely into the old paradigms which the party in power has found some interest to keep (through chandler house linked to the coal plants, Thebe Investments to the fracking, which one is linked to the nuclear and the petro SA refinery ?

    It is my considered contention that these present development imposed by the Govt. are not helping the long term development of the country nor the majority of the people . It is therefore quite disingenuous on the part of the Govt to maintain that it tries to decrease inequity, poverty and unemployment while keeping an economic system which is not at all conducive to succeed these goals.

    Regards PL Lemercier



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