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Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has said that the revised Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) will be released later this week. The IRP will be tabled to Cabinet on Wednesday and made public later in the week, he told reporters.

IRP to be released this weekThe IRP was last published and approved by the cabinet in 2012. Government’s guidelines call for its revision every two years, but politics has held up the latest version. The draft IRP was released in November last year, but drew criticism for a number of reasons – among them the cap on the amount of renewable energy that could be brought online, and the increased provision for nuclear.

The draft IRP was approved by Cabinet in December but was sent back to Cabinet in March. While no reason was given for this, the widespread criticism was largely believed to be behind the reconsideration.

The publication of the latest version of the IRP will end more than eight years of uncertainty in the energy sector. The document predicts energy demand over the next 20 years and models the cost of various technology options as well as government’s chosen mix of them. It will also outline how government sees the future for renewable energy, coal-fired generation and nuclear energy, and in what proportions these should be procured over the next 20 years.

“The IRP will definitely be gazetted for public comment, as there has been a complaint that there has not been sufficient public consultation. The consultation period, however, will be short,” Radebe said on the side-lines of a briefing to Parliament's portfolio committee on energy.

Reports state that Radebe would not be drawn on any detail of the IRP but said that coal would always remain part of the South African energy mix, adding that the country would seek to use new technology to mitigate its impact on the environment.

Image Credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA: https://www.flickr.com/photos/governmentza/37067809482

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