Energy minister David Mahlobo has announced that Cabinet has approved an updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The revised plan, which was concluded after a 12-hour meeting, will be published without any further public consultation, the minister said in a media briefing.

new local refinery on the cards“The updated plan has retained the relative contributions of each of the generation technologies included in the IRP 2010. However, the mix has been adjusted for a lower demand forecast. Reduced capacity has been allocated to coal, solar, wind, hydro and nuclear. The percentages have not changed – the only thing we are changing is the volume. We will no longer have 9.6 GW of new nuclear, for example, it has come down,” the Minister said.

The IRP, which was only expected to be finalised next year, could be released as early as next week. It will provide details on the scale of nuclear in South Africa’s energy mix. The draft IRP delayed developing any nuclear energy until 2037, but there is speculation the final policy could bring nuclear back in as a requirement.

South Africa, which has the continent’s only nuclear power plant, will be adding more nuclear capacity, but Mahlobo would not specify how or by how much. Various civil and environmental rights organisations have questioned consultation on the IRP and threatened legal action. “We now await the publication of the IRP‚ following which we will decide the way forward‚ which may include further litigation,” they said in a statement.

The announcement of the IRP comes shortly after Bloomberg issued a report indicating that asset financing for renewable-energy projects in South Africa has declined substantially. According to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the REIPP produced the world’s fastest-growing renewable-energy market, but asset financing for projects has fallen to $4 million this year.

The decline stems from Eskom’s refusal to sign government-guaranteed purchase agreements with independent producers, leaving developers in limbo, the report found.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/governmentza/33152407971

Credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA


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