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The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy has published the Draft Integrated Resource Plan 2023, and is asking you to comment.

2734 comments delivered to government (closed 23 March 2024)

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The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy called for public comment on the Draft Integrated Resource Plan

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    The Draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP)

    The draft IRP proposes five energy scenarios – possible blends of electricity generation:

      1. a “Reference Case”, which proposes that all additional electricity be generated half by gas and half by wind and solar power.
      2. a “Renewable Energy” scenario, where no new coal, nuclear and gas plants are built, one third of solar power is photovoltaic technology, the remainder as concentrated solar power.
      3. a “Renewable Plus Nuclear” scenario, where about 15,000MW of new nuclear builds provide the electricity attributed to concentrated solar power under the all-renewable scenario.
      4. a “Delayed Shutdown” scenario, where the life of the country’s coal plants would be extended by several years.
      5. a “Renewable Plus Coal” scenario, where new gas and clean coal plants would replace the concentrated solar power or nuclear in the other scenarios.

    What is the Integrated Resource Plan?

    The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is a living plan that is expected to be regularly reviewed as necessitated by changing circumstances.

    The main purpose of the IRP is to ensure security of electricity supply necessary by balancing supply with demand, while considering the environment and total cost of supply.

    South Africa continues to pursue a diversified energy mix that will provide security of supply while ensuring compliance with its emission reduction plan. South Africa’s approach to energy security is in line with international trends and developments and includes electricity generation from Coal, Nuclear, Gas, Renewables, Hydro, Storage Technology, and Hydrogen.

    The Integrated Resource Plan 2023

      1. Cabinet considered and approved the publication of the Integrated Resource Plan 2023 for public comments and consultation. The draft IRP 2023 reviews the approved IRP 2019 and covers two-time horizons, namely the 2030 and 2050 time horizons. Several key assumptions used in the IRP 2019 have significantly changed, including the electricity demand projection, Eskom’s energy availability factor, Eskom’s coal fired power plants shutdown plan, as well as the cost of new power generation technologies.
      2. The 2030-time horizon (Horizon One) focuses on addressing prevailing generation capacity constraints, whereas the 2031 – 2050 time horizon (Horizon 2) focuses on an analysis of the energy mix pathways for sustainable security of supply.
      3. For Horizon One – five scenarios have been developed and assessed based on the state of readiness of projects in the pipeline. The scenarios considered include first the RMIPPPP, REIPPPP 5 and business projects currently under construction. Second, all project initiatives with commercial operation date (COD) and a specified location. Third, all project initiatives include those with no grid capacity reservation, COD, and specified location. Additionally, two scenarios, one comprising the reference case and current gas programme, and another based in improved plant performance according to the generation recovery plan have been modelled.
      4. For Horizon 2, six energy pathways were considered to assess the impact of the different energy technologies in ensuring the country’s power system security of supply at the least cost to the economy. The reference pathway establishes a benchmark against other pathways and it is based on least cost. The five other pathways are based on certain guiding policy principles and they are designed to be exploratory in nature. These policy principles were formulated with a focus on decarbonising the power system, shutting down of existing coal-fired power stations post 2035, and exploring clean coal technologies including carbon capture.

    Cabinet has approved the publication of the Integrated Resource Plan 2023 calling for public written comments. Business Unity South Africa, however, warns that lack of detail in the draft will make it difficult to assess the plan’s credibility. Chief engineer at Stellenbosch University Monique Le Roux and head of the Energy Secretariat and South African National Energy Development Institute Prof. Sampson Mamphweli discuss this further.