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Commission (NPC) and compiled by UCT’s Energy Research Centre, reported that the country’s energy blueprint was outdated and went on to say among other things that the growth in electricity demand had been much lower than had been forecast among others.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 The IRP is not outdated,” explained Peters.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.