Batteries not included

Gas is minerals and energy minister Gwede Mantashe’s New Big Thing. He can barely contain his irritation with the renewable energy lobby as it racks up legal successes against fossil fuel exploration offshore. We should, he told and energy symposium last week, avoid becoming “an island of angels” on the question of energy and fossil fuels. Listen though to senior UCT researcher Jesse Burton as she guides Peter Bruce through the risks associated with using gas as a transitional fuel as we move from coal to renewables by 2050 of before. The National Business Initiative has just produced a seminal document and proposals for a gas-based transition and the time for making decisions is tight. For gas power in 2035, a call would have to be made next year. Burton warns though that that new gas investments could quickly become “stranded assets” as technology runs away with the energy solution. Now is the time for cool heads.