Johannesburg - For
the latest Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity in South Africa, IRP 2016,
the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) proposes a “Least Cost”,
unconstrained scenario, or a “Decarbonised” scenario, both of which exclude
nuclear power in the electricity mix to 2050.
This is the
executive summary of the full submission and response by the CSIR to
the Draft Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (Draft IRP 2016) issued
by the South African Department of Energy in November 2016, for comment and
input from relevant stakeholders and the general public by end March 2017.
is the national scientific and industrial
research facility of South Africa, reporting to the South African Department of
Science and Technology.
response, study and report
by Jarrad G. Wright, Tobias Bischof-Niemz, Joanne
Calitz, Crescent Mushwana, Robbie van Heerden and Mamahloko Senatla, CSIR
As defined in
the Electricity Regulation Act, 2006; the Department of Energy (DoE), the
system operator and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) are
responsible for the development of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) as a
plan for the electricity sector at the national level in South Africa. The
IRP broadly includes input planning assumptions (on the supply and demand
side), a modelling process and scenario planning following which a base plan is
derived from the least-cost generation investment requirements within the
electricity sector. The primary result from the IRP is the identification of
the generation capacity required (per technology) and the requisite timing
in the long-term based on a set of input assumptions and predefined
The most recent
approved and gazetted version of the IRP is the IRP 2010-2030. The current
revision of the IRP (the Draft IRP 2016) was published by the DoE for
public comment in October 2016 and includes updated input assumptions including
demand forecasts, existing plant performance, supply technology costs,
decommissioning schedules and newly commissioned/under construction as well as
preferred bidder power generators (as part of the Renewable Energy Independent
Power Producer Programme (REIPPPP) and base-load coal Independent Power Producer
(IPP) program). The time horizon for the draft IRP 2016 is up to the year 2050.
The plan defined some preliminary results in the form of a proposed Base Case
and two other selected scenarios.
As part of the
IRP update process, the DoE engages in a multi-stage stakeholder engagement
process (including public engagements) to ensure all affected stakeholders are
consulted including national and local government, business, organised labour
and civil society. This document contains the CSIR’s formal comments on
the draft IRP 2016.
determined the least cost, unconstrained electricity mix by 2050 as input
into the IRP 2016 public consultation process. A conservative approach is
always taken where pessimistic assumptions for new technologies and optimistic
assumptions for established technologies are always made. More specifically;
conventional technologies (coal, nuclear, gas CAPEX) were as per IRP 2016,
stationary storage technologies (batteries) were as per IRP 2016, natural gas
fuel costs were assumed slightly more expensive than IRP 2016, solar PV was
aligned with original IRP 2010 cost assumptions while wind is kept constant
into the future at the latest South African REIPPPP result (by 2030/2040/2050).
Job numbers were also conservative (from McKinsey study commissioned by the DoE
in the context of the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP)) but adjusting upwards for
coal power generation
and coal mining.
The result of
this is that it is least cost for any new investment in the power sector
to be solar PV, wind or flexible power. Solar PV, wind and flexible power generators
(e.g. gas, CSP, hydro, biogas) are the cheapest new-build mix. There is no
technical limitation to solar PV and wind penetration over the planning horizon
until 2050. A >70% renewable energy share by 2050 is cost optimal, replacing
all plants that decommission over time and meeting new demand with the new
has the unique opportunity to decarbonise its electricity sector without pain.
By this, the authors mean that clean and cheap are no longer trade-offs
anymore. The Least Cost scenario run is the mix that is the cheapest, emits
less CO2, consumes less water and creates more jobs in the
electricity sector than both Draft IRP 2016 Base Case and Carbon Budget
submission, deviations from Least Cost have been quantified to inform policy
adjustments. Compared to the Least Cost:
2016 Base Case is R70-billion/year more costly, emits twice as much
CO2, two and a half times more water is consumed and provides 10%
less jobs by 2050.
2016 Carbon Budget scenarion is R60-billion/year more costly, emits
15% more CO2, consumes 20% more water and provides 20% less jobs by
The Decarbonised scenario
is R50-billion/year more costly, 95% decarbonised, uses 30% less water and
provides 5% more jobs by 2050.
Read also: #NuclearDeal: Full judgment
Cost scenario is also adaptable and resilient to a range of input
assumption changes relative to other scenarios and therefore more robust
against unforeseen changes in demand and cost. In addition to the detailed
study performed to determine the Least Cost energy mix for South Africa, this
submission includes technical aspects of power system operations and planning
including transmission network infrastructure requirements and system services.
of ensuring system frequency stability (sufficient system inertia) has
been quantified in this submission. Connecting conventional technologies
(nuclear/coal/gas) via HVDC and/or solar PV/wind to the grid reduces system
inertia. This reduces the inherent stabilising effect of synchronous inertia
during contingency events. Many technical solutions to operate low-inertia
systems are available but the CSIR assumed a worst case using state-of-the-art
technology (very high costs, no further technology and/or cost advancements)
nor further increase in engineering solutions to deal with low-inertia systems.
In all scenarios, the worst-case cost are well below 1% of total cost of
power generation by 2050 (some scenarios are much lower than 1%).
network infrastructure was costed at a high level for selected scenarios
(Base Case, Carbon Budget and Least-Cost). The high-level cost estimates for
shallow and deep grid connection costs for all scenarios showed that the Least
Cost scenario scenario is also R20-30 billion/yr cheaper compared to the
Draft IRP 2016 Base Case and Carbon Budget case on transmission network
response, study and report
summaries for 2030, 2040 and 2050 (conservative costs applied)
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