There is speculation that the recent cabinet reshuffle that replaced the ministers of finance and energy, among others, was intended to open the way for the nuclear deal. Thankfully, this has been stalled. The simple reality is that, with the decline in demand and as the potential of renewable energy, energy efficiency and regional gas get realised, SA does not need a nuclear deal.
However, the introduction of increasing amounts of renewable energy are forcing an energy policy rethink as a new paradigm emerges characterised by smaller, cleaner, more decentralised energy systems and more transparent governance and regulation, which are not popular with utilities such as Eskom which want to grow at any cost to the economies they are mandated to supply
These renewable energy and energy efficient resources are not yet optimally exploited because Eskom has control of procurement, despite attempts to promulgate an independent system and market operator. Without an independent operator Eskom does what it can to impede anything that could reduce its market share, whether this is independent, foreign power production or long-term efficiency improvements.