Eskom power lines. Photo: Henk Kruger / ANA
Cape Town - The Draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) has made public renewable energy the focus over the next decade.

Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe said the concerns raised about the constraining of renewables had been addressed, and the annual build limits on renewables were removed. “The electricity generation and distribution landscape in South Africa is changing at a rapid pace compared to the period before 2010. In keeping to our climate-change commitments, the country has also introduced renewable energy through independent power producers,” Radebe said.

“Electricity demand is therefore no longer captive to the national grid (Eskom or municipalities), which impacts supply and demand planning.”

The IRP envisions additional generation capacity by 2030 of 81000 mega watts (MW) from wind and 8100MW from gas, 1000MW from coal, 2500MW from hydro and 5670MW from photovoltaic. The power utility’s current installed generation capacity is 48000MW.

Ronald Chauke, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse’s portfolio manager for energy, said the draft suggested that the Department of Energy was slowly dimming the lights on Eskom and making way for other supply sources.

“It is becoming inevitable that Eskom must revise its business model to diversify its portfolio and be innovative to have new revenue generation streams for it to be resilient,” said Chauke.

The draft IRP further said the decommissioning of Eskom plants would see less than 30% of energy supplied from coal by 2040 and less than 20% by 2050.

Eskom’s board is expected to submit a new strategy for the next five years at the end of next month.

“By 2030, wind should make up just over 15% of the country’s power mix,” said Brenda Martin, chief executive of South African Wind Energy Association. 

* Additional reporting by Luyolo Mkentane.

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Cape Argus