South Africa has a new energy plan which covers 2019 to 2030. It follows cabinet’s recent adoption of a new Integrated Resource Plan for electricity generation. The plan – which builds on a relatively well-received draft announced last year – makes some significant advances in changing South Africa’s energy mix. For example, it significantly ups the contribution of wind as well as solar power to South Africa’s overall energy allocation. The production of power from wind is expected to grow by 900% by 2030, and power from solar photovoltaic by 560%. In some other respects the plan is disappointing. The biggest problem is that coal power generation continues to be dominant. While coal generating capacity would drop from a current 71% to 43% in 2030, this is viewed as far too little to make a meaningful contribution to combating climate change. What has dominated headlines about the plan, however, is the nuclear power option. This has been very misleading as the plan effectively says nothing concrete about new nuclear. No new nuclear plants are envisaged to come on line before 2030, while the plan is deliberately non-committal for what happens afterwards. This is because there are too many unknowns and potential developments that could affect the post-2030 scenario.
The Conversation 29th Oct 2019 read more »