IRP 2018: Right move towards a low carbon energy transition
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has submitted its comments on the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018) to the Portfolio Committee on Energy and the Department of Energy. OUTA will present its recommendations to the Portfolio Committee on Friday 26 October.
In its submission, OUTA lauds the Department of Energy for removing the possibility of new nuclear programmes from South Africa’s energy mix for the next 12 years.
“The 2018 IRP is a move in the right direction. Gone are the days of nuclear being forced into the plan through gross manipulation of the process, as was evident during the Zuma administration,” says Ronald Chauke, OUTA’s Portfolio Manager on Energy.
OUTA’s submission welcomes the increase in renewable energy supply, which will take the levels of clean green energy supply from about 4% to just under 30% by 2030.
“Sanity is prevailing as South Africa begins to invest in cleaner and low-cost energy. This progression into renewables will also see an increase in supply from independent power producers and thereby improve the competition against Eskom, which has lacked innovation and failed to keep pace with the rapidly changing energy generation technological landscape,” says Chauke.
While IRP 2018 is a vast improvement on previous plans, OUTA raises red flags on the low allocation for embedded generation, which is reflected at 200MW. This is an underestimation which we believe should be increased to 2 500 to 3 000MW, given the reality of increased migration from the grid by large electricity users. OUTA believes the allocation of 2 500MW of hydro energy for the DRC’s proposed Grand Inga project is questionable, given the political and funding uncertainty of this project. In this regard, OUTA proposes that the final IRP 2018 should shift this 2 500MW allocation from Grand Inga to embedded generation.
OUTA also recommends that IRP 2018 should provide more clarity on the sequencing of new renewable energy power generation plants as replacements for existing coal plants earmarked for decommissioning, to ensure a seamless transition and security of electricity supply. “If the transition from coal to renewable energy is not properly scheduled and planned, South Africans may face power shortages and blackouts. It is imperative that we get this process correct from the beginning and the IRP needs to outline this sequencing clearly,” says Chauke.