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The Science Council for Global Initiatives (SCGI) is an international NGO dedicated to uplifting the standards of living of people of all nations while repairing our damaged environment.
A recent article in Engineering News argued that wind and solar could provide the bulk of South Africa’s power at the least cost. Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz argued that building 22 GW of wind and solar capacity and 8 GW of “backup” (in the form of coal and/or gas) was the sensible solution to supplying a reliable 8 GW of electrical power to South Africa. Apparently his argument is that the amount of money saved on fuel will outweigh the cost of such extreme overbuilding.
Having seen actual results of such folly based on computer modelling and other types of simulations, one can be forgiven for being skeptical of such claims.
Yesterday, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to approve a provision within the Clean Energy Standard (CES) that would value the emission-free energy that Upstate New York’s nuclear energy plants provide, finally recognizing that these plants are essential to meeting the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030.
Since everyone agrees that this goal would be impossible to achieve without retaining the state’s existing nuclear power, this provision was critical.
The country of South Africa faces serious problems, many arising out of decades of apartheid and the extreme disparities of wealth it engendered. The first post-apartheid president, Nelson Mandela, was able to begin the transition process to racial political equality while avoiding the sort of wrenching and destructive upheaval that occurred in neighboring Zimbabwe. But frustration at persistent poverty and unemployment makes South Africa’s domestic tranquility a fragile situation.