The Department of Energy (DoE) has formally extended the period for public comment on the draft Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) and the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) base case until March 31.
The closing date for written comment was initially set as February 15, after the two plans were formally Gazetted on November 25.
The DoE said the decision to extend the comment period followed requests from a number of stakeholders.
To date, the department has hosted hearings on the IEP and the IRP in Gauteng, the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
A number of participants expressed dismay at the short notice provided for preparing oral submissions and the restricted timeframe for the submission of written comments.
Public consultation on the draft Integrated Resource Plan
Following the approval by Cabinet on 2 November 2016, the Minister of Energy released draft documentation relating to a new Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) and Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) on 22 November 2016. The IEP addresses the future energy landscape in general, whereas the IRP focuses specifically on electricity. Both are long-term planning documents. More attention so far has been devoted to the IRP, particularly because of the emphasis placed by Government (and Eskom) on the importance of a substantial expansion of nuclear power within the overall electricity provision forecasts to 2050.
The draft updated IRP’s base case envisages a new build programme of power generating capacity over the period 2021 to 2050, with the following components:
Currently, total installed capacity is 51 000 MW. Much of this will be obsolete by 2050, but with the new capacity to be added, the draft updated IRP envisages a base case with a total installed capacity in 2050 of 136 000 MW.
The Minister announced that the next step was for public consultation to be held during December 2016 and January 2017, culminating in Government adjustments in March 2017 and the promulgation of a final IRP, once it is approved by Cabinet.
The much awaited updated South African Integrated Resource Plan for electricity has been released for comment.
The document makes far-reaching proposals about the target energy generation mix leading all the way to 2050. In particular, the plan pronounces on the future scale and role of nuclear energy and renewable energy technologies. The appropriateness of these has been debated a great deal in the country in the past few years.
If adopted in its current form, it will lead to a 15 year delay in the construction of new nuclear power plants. But it will also result in a greater reliance on gas, solar and especially wind power than anticipated five years ago in the previous plan 2010-2030.
The proposed plan has already been the subject of intensive scrutiny and debate, with those for and against lining up to make their points. The state utility Eskom is unhappy about the suggested delay in building a much bigger nuclear capability and has even threatened to ignore key recommendations. For their part, advocates of renewable energy argue that the plan underestimates how much less expensive these technologies will be in the next 20 to 30 years.
The previous road-map An earlier version of the integrated resources plan released in 2011 envisaged that between 2010 and 2030 South Africa’s electricity demand would grow from 255 TWh (tera-watt-hours – a unit of energy) to 436 TWh. This was to be achieved through the completion of two very large coal power plants, Medupi and Kusile, which would supply the bulk of the shortfall. Other contributors would be nuclear, for which new plants would need to be built, and the establishment of a new renewable energy generation network of wind power and solar power.
But a great deal has changed since then.
Firstly, the growth in energy demand has proved to be lower than projected. Secondly, the cost of renewable technologies has dropped faster than expected. In particular, the price of solar photovoltaic electricity allocated under the country’s renewable energy procurement programme fell by 75% between 2012 and 2015.
These developments were captured in an updated version of the 2011 plan that was prepared in 2013. It recommended that, in view of these changing conditions, there was no longer a need to kick-start a nuclear build programme immediately. It also recommended that a decision on whether or not to embark on an expensive expansion of the nuclear reactor fleet could be delayed for several years.
But this updated version of the plan was never promulgated. This left the door open for a fiercely pro-nuclear lobby which is in favour of a highly lucrative nuclear expansion programme. This issue has developed into a political hot potato. The central argument is that the push for nuclear goes against economic common sense and that it’s being pursued for the benefit of politically connected individuals.
The nuclear build issue has come to feature prominently as one of the important drivers of what is referred to as “state capture” of some of the country’s large institutions.
The latest version The draft update of the resources plan advocates the following most likely scenario, referred to as the “base case”.
Electricity demand between 310 and 355 TWh in 2030 (about 100 TWh lower than envisaged in the 2010-2030 plan) with demand rising to between 390 and 530 TWh in 2050. This is based on projection models developed at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
The construction of 37.4 GW (1 000 GigaWatts equal 1 TeraWatt) of wind capacity and 17.6 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity between 2020 and 2050.
The gradual decommissioning of most existing coal power stations by 2050 in line with international carbon emission agreements.
A substantial increase (35.3 GW) in electricity generation from gas. Due to the high cost of gas it is generally used only as a back up. It would in any case contribute only about 7% of total energy generation.
The construction of just over 20 GW of nuclear power. But this would only gradually come on line between 2037 and 2050. Given that construction of the plants would take ten years the decision to go ahead with the nuclear build could still be delayed for another decade.
Initial reactions Unsurprisingly, the nuclear industry and its supporters have reacted very negatively to the new draft. Strong nuclear advocates in the state electricity utility Eskom have gone so far as to defiantly declare that they will invite nuclear construction proposals before the end of the year.
But Eskom’s defiance is unlikely to lead to anything substantial. This is because the state utility is facing both a credibility crisis and its finances are in poor shape.
On the other hand advocates of faster growth in renewables have criticised two fundamental assumptions underpinning the “base case” model.
They argue that the model assumes renewable tariffs slightly higher than achieved in the last allocations made under the renewable energy procurement programme. Only by 2030 do these drop a further 20% for photovoltaics and 9% for wind. But given recent trends and projections there’s a strong likelihood that future renewable energy costs will be lower than that.
The “base case” also assumes a limit to how many solar and wind plants can be constructed annually. But based on past interest and delivery by private renewable power producers far greater annual developments are possible.
Several researchers have shown that by applying lower renewable tariffs and removing annual construction limits renewables can make up a much greater proportion of the energy mix, and that new nuclear might not even be needed in 2050.
Future energy demand The new energy plan is now subject to public input. It is due to be adopted by government in four months time after improvements and further scenario modelling has been added.
Even after adoption, updates will need to be done regularly, ideally every two years since even current projections could be overestimating future energy demand considerably.
This is particularly true given that energy consumption is declining in most developed countries because of advances in technology and energy saving initiatives.
If the energy sector is managed correctly, the current South African energy crisis may not be as far reaching as is often assumed.
The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-30 was promulgated in March 2011. It was indicated at the time that the IRP should be a “living plan”. Since the promulgation of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-30 there have been a number of developments in the energy sector in South and Southern Africa. In addition the electricity demand outlook has changed from that expected in 2010.
Download consultation paper here.......
The Department of Energy is in the process of updating the IRP and has published Assumptions and Base Case for you to consider and comment on.
You are invited to comment on the Draft IEP Report and the IRP Assumptions and the Base Case through the consultation workshops and or in writing to the Department. Comments received will be considered in preparing a draft final IRP Update which will be submitted to Cabinet for approval. Closing date for submitting written comments is 15 February 2017.
Interested parties interested in making presentation at the workshop must register by sending an email with the presentation to IRP.Queries@energy.gov.za not later than 2 days before the consultation workshop.
Consultation workshops will take place as indicated below with venues to follow once confirmed:
In the absence of an update to the outdated national Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity, IRP2010-2030, the CSIR Energy Centre has presented its own study to re-optimise the South African power capacity and energy mix from 2016 to 2040. By CHRIS YELLAND, investigative editor, EE Publishers.
The CSIR study by Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, Jarrad Wright, Joanne Calitz and Crescent Mushwana was presented at the Windaba 2016 conference in Cape Town on November 3, 2016.
The capacity and energy mix re-optimisation by the CSIR takes into account the considerably lower electricity demand forecast for the years ahead, the significantly reduced cost of electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind capacity, and South Africa’s international commitments to constrain CO2 emissions following the country’s “peak-plateau-decline” objectives.
Following a similar modeling exercise, and using the same software platform as that used by the Department of Energy and Eskom planners to prepare the IRP, the CSIR study in effect does what the long-awaited 2016 IRP Update should have done ages ago.
As such, the CSIR presents what it calculates to be the re-optimised, least-cost mix for new electricity generation capacity technologies for the years ahead to 2040, taking into account and updating all the necessary economic, electricity demand, technology cost and other assumptions.
The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-30 was promulgated in March 2011. It was indicated at the time that the IRP should be a “living plan” which would be revised by the Department of Energy (DoE) every two years i.e. an Update is required in 2013. Since the promulgation of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-30 there have been a number of developments in the energy sector in South and Southern Africa. In addition the electricity demand outlook has changed markedly from that expected in 2010.
Consequently the Department of Energy have completed an IRP 2010 Update which is available for you to download. You are requested to consider this update and email your comments and or questions to Tshepo.Madingoane@energy.gov.za. The closing date for your submissions will be 7 February 2014.
Comments received will be considered in preparing a final draft IRP 2010 Update which will be submitted to Cabinet for final approval by March 2014. The approved document will then be promulgated and be published in the Government Gazette.
Download the : Integrated Resource Plan 2010 Update
The government wants South Africa to become a manufacturer of "green technology" such as parts for renewable energy plants, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said at the Living Planet Conference on Friday.
South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan seeks 17.8GW of energy from renewables by 2030.
Mr Davies said the New Growth Path had identified "the green economy" as one of six growth drivers for South Africa. The New Growth Path was adopted in 2010 as the country’s framework for economic policy and the driver of its jobs strategy.
The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2010-30) is not outdated but will be reviewed in line with the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP), Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday.
Responding to a question by media ahead of her department’s Budget Vote later today, Peters said the 20-year plan has been created deliberately so that it has loops for review.
“It was promulgated in May 2011.... This is the year that we are finalising the IEP of which the IRP is a subset. Within that total framework you are going to have a reviewed IRP in this particular financial year,” she said at a media briefing.
The IRP2010 places specific emphasis on broadening electricity supply technologies to include gas, imports, nuclear, biomass, renewables (wind, solar and hydro), in response to both the country's future electricity needs as well as reduce its CO2 emissions.
A study, commissioned by the National Planning Commission (NPC) and compiled by UCT’s Energy Research Centre, reported that the country’s energy blueprint was outdated and went on to say among other things that the growth in electricity demand had been much lower than had been forecast among others.
“The NPC has got the right to do that [commission a study]. We have the mandate and responsibility to ensure that certainty is given to this country. Our plan is looking at the provision of energy. The National Development Plan (NDP) speaks about low carbon energy pro vision, the IRP speaks to that, and so does the IEP. We are the policy department, they [NPC] would sit and develop the framework for planning, and we would look at how to make it possible. The IRP is not outdated,” explained Peters.
Director General Nelisiwe Magubane said that assumptions that the demand for electricity have gone down were wrong and that the country faces challenges such as some plants having to be shutdown, adding that the fleet was no less than 35 years old.
The department will this year finalise the IEP. “We are going to do the IEP first and we are going to engage that for the next five months and in parallel we will be working on the IPR however the revision of the IRP will be informed by the input from the public on the IEP,” explained the director general. A specific date for the review of the IRP is not yet available.
The rationale for the IRP coming into being before the IEP was as a result of the 2008 energy shortage that was caused by a lack of long term planning. “The IRP was urgent [that it comes into being],” said Magubane.
In March 2012, the department held a consultative conference on the development of the IEP with work on the plan being completed in March 2013. The completion and implementation of the IEP will enable the department to go ahead with the review of the IRP 2010. “We are now ready to equip the sector on our proposals for energy planning up to 2050,” said the department.
Peters said that the energy environment was a volatile one, while briefing reporters on the progress the department has made.