New Integrated Resource Plan Criticized

Spotlight Activity: New Integrated Resource Plan Criticized

On the 27th of August, the South African Minister of Energy released the much-anticipated Integrated Resource Plan Draft. This draft is meant to outline the expected roadmap by the South African government to ensure that it adequately addresses energy demand and affordability in South Africa, until year 2030.

The draft outlined two main key assumptions when it comes to South Africa’s energy supply and these include: The South African demand for electricity did not increase as previously expected and the cost for new technology decreased. This led to the IRP Plan proposing that the following electricity generation be built from now until 2030: 8100MW of new wind power, 5670MW of solar photovoltaic energy, 2500MW Hydro Energy, 8100MW of gas and 1000MW of Coal energy. This means that the South African energy mix would be: 46% coal energy, 16% gas, 15% wind energy, 10% Solar PV energy, 6% hydro energy, 4% pumped storage energy, 2.5 nuclear energy and 1% of concentrated solar power energy.

The biggest criticism of the IRP Plan came about because of the two newly proposed coal powered stations being the Khanyisa and Thabametsi power stations. The stations will be built privately through the Independent Power Producers Programme. This proposition has raised an outcry from the non-governmental organisations and activists who believe that South Africa will fail to meet its targets in their Nationally Determined Contributions if it continues with building and upgrading coal powered stations. This would have a negative impact in the plight of addressing the concerns highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that countries are not doing enough to decrease their carbon emissions.

Status: Standing Still

Countries in the world are currently trying to find ways to move away from coal energy to renewable energy. South Africa, instead of moving in that direction completely, still wants to maintain the use of coal energy. As per the assumptions of the report, South Africa currently does not have much demand for electricity, and the technology for renewable energy is currently affordable. Therefore, this is the right time to transition to clean renewable forms of energy.

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