Affordable energy technologies on the cards to address emissions concerns

“If we do not deal with this issue and in addition to the challenges that we have with the performance of our power plants we stand to lose between 15,000MW and 30,000MW on the basis that capacity is not compliant with the air quality requirements,” he said.

He said the government should consider keeping the power plants online for as long as possible because bringing in new capacity has a lead time.

“These plants are capacity that you already have and capacity that you need to be able to provide support to the system,” he said.

The integrated resource plan was signed into law in 2019 and focuses on diversifying South Africa’s energy mix beyond fossil fuels. However, Eskom’s poor performance and the cost of technology necessitated the review.

The review took into account two horizon periods: horizon 1 between now and 2030 focused on addressing South Africa’s energy constraints; and horizon 2 between 2030 and 2050 which aims to implement long-term energy pathways.

Mbele said in terms of horizon 2, the government had observed that energy pathways based on renewable and clean energy technology delivery can lead to the decarbonisation of the power system.

He said in the review the government observed that between 2031 and 2050 the system will require a massive new build with significant capacity and new capacity will need to be commissioned by 2035.

“The implication of this is that if we do not start planning for that capacity now, we are going to get to that point and find ourselves in the same situation in which we find ourselves today,” he said.

Mbele said assumptions of the two horizons may change, but the overall plan remains to address power challenges.

“It is anybody’s guess how those assumptions will change, but the one thing we know is we want energy security of supply. We want to ensure energy security of supply that is in line with our commitment to reduce carbon emissions and that security of supply within our commitments must be affordable.”

According to the plan, under horizon 1 there are five scenarios that include the risk mitigation power producer procurement programme. Horizon 2 has considered six energy pathways aimed to ensure South Africa’s energy policy post 2030 ensures a sustainable energy mix. 


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