One way of thinking about SA’s base load electricity system is to ask: if the electricity system had to be rebuilt from scratch with what we know now, would it look similar to the one we have? The answer is no. Around the world, base load utilities and the fossil fuel extractive industries that supply them risk becoming stranded assets. As the price of renewable electricity generation falls below the price of coal-fired power, renewables have moved from the fringes to the mainstream. At the same time, opposition to renewables has moved from an argument that they are too expensive to one fixated on the variable nature of the generation profiles of wind and solar photovoltaic electricity. This issue of "variability" speaks to the often-questioned ability of renewables to provide electricity when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing on a continual basis throughout the day. Traditionally, this capability is thought only possible with what is referred to as base load power —...

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