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Begrotingsdebat: Energie / Budget Debate: Energy

Agbare Speaker,

In the days of energy innocence, when climate change was perceived to be a prehistoric occurrence, when pollution from coal fired power stations was affectionately called "the smell of progress" and when water scarcity was something for the Sahara, South Africa happily burnt coal and produced the cheapest energy in the world. Those days are now gone.

Die goeie nuus is dat ons feitelik weer geposisioneer is om voordeel te trek uit ‘n ander energiebron, naamlik die baie sonskyn in ons land deur middel van sonpanele en beter storingsmeganismes. Dan is daar ook ander natuurlike kragbronne soos windkragopwekkers en talle ander ontwikkelende tegnologieë. Die vraag is egter of die regering se beleid korrek geposisioneer is dat ons werklik gebruik kan maak van hierdie ekonomiese dividend? Die geskiedenis leer ons ongelukkig dat dit nie heeltemal die geval is nie, veral weens druk van ESKOM. Daarom is dit verblydend om te verneem dat die minister tans werk aan die nuutste Geintegreerde Hulpbronplan en dat met rolspelers gekonsulteer sal word rakende die tegniese verslag wat die plan gaan onderlê.

The right policy would be to open the electric grid for any producer who meets safety and quality standards under the auspices of an independent grid operator. If the roof of every factory, house, farm-shed and shopping center is covered with solar panels; if every farm has a "flock of solar panels" along the flock of sheep, if this is spread all over the east-west line of our country, it will largely reduce the dependence on coal. For a sense of scale: forty thousand hectares of solar panels will duplicate Eskom's total generation capacity.

Verbeel u net dat bykans elke nuwe lae-kostehuis wat gebou word ook sonpanele en bergingsmeganismes insluit. Hierdie stelsel word gekoppel aan die plaaslike en nasionale kragnetwerk. Arm families sal dan enige oorskot elektrisiteit aan die stadsraad of aan enige streeks- of nasionale verskaffers verkoop. Sodoende word ‘n passiewe inkomste gegenereer wat nie net armes sal help nie, maar ook die ekonomie in elke dorp asook nasionaal sal stimuleer.

There is, however, one large stumbling block to the creation of this possibility, and it is called ESKOM. Against any logic, it wants to remain the ONLY power supplier and keep control of the distribution network. Why? Well, I guess this attitude can be expected from an institution that is backed by the fiscus that allows them the freedom to participate in state capture, that buys coal from BBBEE suppliers at hugely inflated prices thus harming the whole economy and that actually requests their clients to stop using their product and afterwards complains when their clients do not wish to return. We can then also understand that they want to ensure that regulations see the light of day that will require all power generators of less than 1MW to be licensed.

In werklikheid, wat gaan gebeur is dat al hoe meer individue en besighede self-help kragopwekkingsvermoëns gaan skep en dat – soos die geval met die Gautengse E-Tol – hulle net nie ag gaan slaan op lisensieringsvereistes nie. Die VF Plus beskou die monopolie wat ESKOM op die oomblik het as ongrondwetlik en onvolhoubaar. Enige persoon het die reg om self krag op te wek. Hierdie vryheid baat armes die meeste wat nie ESKOM se krag kan bekostig nie. Trouens selfs die middelklas kan nie ESKOM se krag bekostig nie.

Therefore Minister, the envisioned new integrated resource plan must plan for the deregulation of the power industry and ESKOM must prepare to be broken up and sold off. In a new power market competition from various power suppliers will ensure that electricity becomes cheap again and that individual households can create an income by selling their excess electricity.

En op ‘n laaste noot minister: sê tog asseblief aan minister Mantashe van mineralebronne dat hy kan vergeet van skaliegas-ontginning. Dit gaan nooit werk nie.

The same goes for nuclear power. Just forget about it. We can do without nuclear accidents. We have enough sun to ensure safe power supply.

Dankie Speaker.

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