Renewable energy is becoming more affordable as technology improves, economies of scale kick in, financing mechanisms mature, practical constraints are overcome, and public policy takes account of the negative impacts and true costs of fossil fuel and nuclear power.
Better investment (using 2010 prices for solar pv):
IRP2010 = R910 BN vs. SMART Track = R748 BN
(a conservative estimate!)
Costs: Coal and nuclear go up, while renewables go down
A recent Bloomberg report, Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012, states that over the past two years global electricity generation cost for solar generated photovoltaics and onshore wind fell by 44% and 7% respectively, while coal fired generation costs rose by 7%. And the 2011 World Nuclear Industry Status Report states that nuclear power plants have a history of massive cost overruns and missed deadlines, and nuclear costs have risen six-fold over the last decade.
The SMART PLAN, when compared to the IRP2010, would reduce capital expenditure by about 18%. This is when considering the 2010 supply options and following the more conservative Smart Track scenario. Considering price increases in the coal and nuclear industry and price decreases of renewable energy since 2012, the SMART option would be considerably cheaper.