We know power from coal is an expensive, dirty, thirsty, dangerous, unhealthy, polluting, CO2 emitting business. That is a given and broadly accepted. The subtext of this debate is whether nuclear or renewable energy gives us a safe, clean energy future?
There is a common narrative in South Africa that renewables are imported, sponsored by foreign capital, have a white face and are bad. Coal and nuclear, on the other hand, are locally sourced or produced, have a black face and are good. The narrative is emotive, racially-based and does not promote healthy dialogue. The debate was chaired by Chris Yelland, managing director of EE Business Intelligence. A proponent from either side came together to discuss this issue and look at energy options for South Africa.