Zero Carbon Charge (Zero CC) this week made its submission to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) on the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
The IRP 2023 has proposed increased fossil fuel usage compared to the IRP 2019 and reduced renewable energy usage, as part of the energy mix to retain dispatchable capacity on the back of electricity supply deficit.
Zero CC said in a statement that the submission highlighted that, based on Zero CC’s research, the draft IRP had not fully taken into account the increased demand that the transition to Electric Vehicles (EVs) would place on the national Eskom powered grid over the next 26 years, up to 2050.
“Using projected EV sales, Zero Carbon Charge has calculated the quantity of EVs in South Africa each year while factoring in that the average South African driver covers 25000 km annually, with an EV energy efficiency (the amount of energy drawn from a vehicle’s battery to travel 1km) of approximately 0.22 kWh/km. When compared to the draft IRP’s overall projections for e-mobility, Zero Carbon Charge’s projections show that the demand on the grid will be far greater,” it said.
For example, by 2034, its projections predicted the demand created by passenger EVs would have hit 10 Terawatt-hours (TWh), whereas the IRP predicts less than half that, at around 5 TWh. In 2050, its projections showed that the demand created by passenger EVs would be just more than 60 TWh, while the IRP’s projection was around 10 TWh less, at just more than 50 TWh.
Zero CC said that when the increased demand was viewed against other matters raised in the draft IRP, first, that power outages would probably continue until 2028 and, second, that there would be a delay in the decommissioning of coal-fired power stations until there was a stable supply of electricity in the country, three things became apparent:
– South Africa’s national, coal-fired grid, would not to be able to manage the demands imposed on it by the mass charging of EVs – even if one used the conservative e-mobility demand projections contained in the draft IRP.
– Coal-powered EVs would not help South Africa achieve a Just Energy Transition and its net zero targets by 2050.
“Research undertaken by Zero CC shows that an EV charged with Eskom’s coal-fired electricity emits 5.3 metric tons of carbon emissions in a year. This is significantly more than a petrol vehicle that, on average, emits 4.4 metric tons of carbon emissions in a year if driven over the same distance,” it said.
– The only way to minimise load shedding and reduce carbon emissions was for EVs to be powered independently of Eskom’s grid, Zero CC noted.
As part of Zero Ce’s submission to the DMRE, it said it had presented four scenarios that showed how off-grid EV charging could alleviate the burden on the grid.
Furthermore, Zero CC said that as EV adoption increased, the benefits of off-grid charging could also increase considerably each year from 2040 up to 2050. For example, if only 25% of EV’s are powered by off-grid charging, around 13 TWh of demand could be removed from the grid in 2050.
Andries Malherbe, the co-founder and director of Zero CC, said: “Our analysis makes it clear that the only way to reduce demand on the grid and for South Africa to achieve its net-zero targets, government must focus on the mass roll-out of EV off-grid charging stations that are powered by renewable energy.”
Earlier this week, Business Report reported that asset management firm Schroders has warned that policy uncertainty around the future of South Africa’s Just Energy Transition Programme was worrying for investors within the renewable energy sector.
It said the portfolio managers who were making the investment decisions had a process they went through, and some of the questions included things like the Integrated Resource Plan of the country, or how the company and the management look at sustainable living.
Zero CC said it remained on track to roll out 120 Solar PV powered ultra-fast off-grid chargers, approximately 150km apart, covering all the strategic highways and major routes in South Africa by September 2025.
Joubert Roux, the co-founder and director of Zero CC said: “We are grateful to have been provided an opportunity to comment on the draft IRP and hope to continue engaging with the DMRE on our solution to reduce the future reliance of EVs on the grid.”
Zero CC said it had also written to Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel requesting a meeting to engage further on the EV White Paper released last month, including the need for an off-grid EV charging solution.
Last week, Business Report reported Toyota Motors South Africa (TMSA) CEO Andrew Kirby as saying there had been a 65% increase in new energy vehicle sales sold in South Africa in 2023 compared to 2022, with most of them being battery electric vehicles.
“The total volumes are still fairly small, but the trajectory is quite interesting. So from 40 models, we now have 66 models, hybrids making up the majority of new engine vehicle sales at 84%, 4% plug-in hybrids, and 12% battery electric vehicles,” Kirby said.
“So, a substantial change in the market. And if we keep going along this trajectory, it’s going to be interesting to see what the next five years will look like,” he said at the time.