Huge renewable, nuclear build ahead for SA, but coal is here to stay

From THEDAILYMAVERICK – details of South Africa’s long awaited and contested Integrated Resource Plan: Some ‘Good News’ and some ‘Bad News’ depending on your stance on nuclear energy and your belief in renewables ability to deliver in the context of Southern Africa’s large volumes of available coal and its need to satisfy many parties development and infrastructure needs. The impact of funding of African infrastructure needs is always questionable and results in many compromises along the way. We are all hoping for greater use of renewables and yet no one wants power outages in their area! Expect some serious debates in this heated territory! Without power to cities no future can be even vaguely talked about – sustainability requires a balance we have yet to achieve – hover over the question how do we reduce our consumption without requiring reduction in population – what politician or ‘humanist’ academic can stomach that bitter pill?


At long last, the cabinet has approved and published the national Integrated Resource Plan for electricity. Now this has to be passed by Parliament and published in the Government Gazette. Let’s hope there will not be further delays and a measure of certainty will prevail so the electricity sector can get down to work.

Officially abbreviated to IRP 2010, the plan forecasts South Africa’s electricity demand up to 2030, and determines how this demand is to be met. It sets out the generation technologies to be used and the planned mix of primary energy options over this period, such as the mix between hydrocarbon (coal, gas, diesel), renewable (hydro, wind, solar), nuclear, pumped storage and other power generation technologies.

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