Let’s start with some background on NuEnergy Developments, your role there and in particular your work in the nuclear sector.
NuEnergy Developments is a networked, energy-centric consultancy which supports the development and implementation of a balanced and sustainable energy portfolio for South Africa and the rest of Africa.
It strives to create an energy industry that delivers safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy for the people it serves, while ensuring that its projects and operations provides opportunity for sustainable growth and development in the local industry.
NuEnergy Developments draws on a wealth of project development and delivery experience in the corporate energy sector across a wide range of power generation technologies and construction disciplines including: Thermal Energy, Renewable Energy and Nuclear Energy.
In the Nuclear Energy sector we are concerned with aligning our local industry to major opportunities in the nuclear build programs and getting the industry ready in time to safely participate in them. Given the high barriers to entry in the nuclear sector, early stages of industry development is key to localising successfully.
Tell us about your work on the NIASA Supply Chain Development Sub-Committee.
The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) is a nuclear energy lobby group which deals with Public Relations for the industry and acts as a voice between its Members and Government. It also provides the industry with insight into Education and Training and Supply Chain Development in the nuclear energy sector. Most of the work we do in NIASA is education on the facts of nuclear energy through publications and orientation workshops. Industry is encouraged to get on board and connect with other industry members.
There is a lot of debate about the positives of nuclear in South Africa – what in your view is the one top argument in favour?
The general debate around nuclear is mostly misinformed and consequently a senseless debate to the public. Although it is a well-designed and regulated technology it is not very well understood due to perceived complexities and concerns around safety. However, in sustainable energy planning, three key criteria to be met are: Energy Security (supply meets demand) – Energy Equity (access to affordable energy by all) and Environmental Sustainability (pollution and climate change mitigation). Based on empirical evidence around the world, nuclear energy delivers to all three criteria at an unprecedented level making it a sensible decision.
What surprises you about the energy industry?
The energy poverty we still have on the African continent when we are blessed with an abundance of energy choices. With over 600million people without access to electricity in Africa, I am surprised at the lack of a sensible continental energy master plan. Fifty Four countries in Africa trying independently to figure out their own energy needs does not make sense when regional energy planning can offer more efficient solutions.
What is your vision for this sector?
The energy sector should play a more versatile role by providing safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy for the country. This can only be achieved through a balanced combination of Thermal, Renewable/Hydro and Nuclear Energy. Sustainable energy systems should also be able to augment our water supplies, power an imminent electric transport sector and reduce our high transmission losses through decentralized coastal power generation. I also see fully integrated regional, national, municipal and smart micro grids, being enabled by a digital revolution transforming the way we manage and use energy. While energy storage will help balance the grid, we still depend on reliable base-load energy especially with the planned old-coal decommissioning program planned for South Africa.
You are taking part in the nuclear conference at African Utility Week this year – what will be the theme of your address and your message?
A nuclear build programme in South Africa offers a significant scope of opportunity for the local industry over a sustained period of time that can address real and needed socio-economic development and industrial transformation. However the industry will need be prepared well in advance to realize these opportunities. The potential for nuclear energy in Africa will also be a theme.
What are you most looking forward to at African Utility Week?
Sharing ideas within like-minded people and finding sensible and workable solutions toward reducing Africa’s abject energy poverty and getting this continent on the global prosperity map, in my lifetime.
Anything you would like to add?
It’s time for us to start observing, deciding and acting decisively in the energy sector. That alone will solicit the confidence and investment we desperately need in the African energy sector. Water and energy should play a more complimentary role.
To learn more about the Nuclear Power Africa conference and Africa Utility Week, click here.