A tall order
Revised plan will determine SA’s energy future until 2030
SOUTH AFRICA’S integrated resources plan (IRP) for electricity between 2010 and 2030 – as approved by the Cabinet – requires decisions to be made this year on the country’s next two nuclear powered as well as its next two coal-fired power stations. Although not yet officially released, full details of the plan have been published by EE Publishers on their website (http://eepublishers.co.za). According to the Department of Energy (DoE) the IRP will only be posted on its website within the next week after it’s been officially published in the Government Gazette. Key features of the IRP include calls for huge investments in nuclear and renewable sources of energy and a decision to bring forward construction of planned coal-fired power stations.
Those coal-fired stations also appear to have been restructured into a larger number of smaller capacity plants from the original “revised balanced” plan, which called for 5 000MW of capacity to be installed between 2027 and 2030. Those units ranged in size from 750MW to 2 000MW.
The modified “policy-adjusted” plan – as now approved by Cabinet – calls for the construction of two 500MW units in 2014 and 2015, to be followed by 250MW of coal-fired capacity every year from 2019 to 2025. After that, the remaining six years of the plan will see 250MW of coal-fired generation installed one year, followed by 1 000MW the next. Total new installed coal-fired generating capacity increases to 6 250MW from the 5 000MW called for previously.
A key policy factor with regard to coal is the decision that power imported from coal-fired power stations in neighbouring countries – such as Botswana and Mozambique – “will not be separately identified but considered part of the domestic coal fleet, with emissions counting towards SA’s carbon inventory, as with domestic coal”.
The plan doesn’t indicate which specific projects are being short-listed but as for the first two 500MW plants there are some obvious candidates, which include the Limpopo independent power producer (IPP) project being looked at by Exxaro Resources and the IPP plant being promoted by Australian coal junior Riversdale near Tete in Mozambique.
As for nuclear powered stations, the “policy-adjusted” plan sticks to the original schedule, which calls for a 1 600MW station to be built every year between 2023 and 2026, followed by two more 1 600MW units in 2028 and 2029, for a total installed nuclear generating capacity of 9 600MW.
The “policy-adjusted” plan also calls for a huge amount of renewable generation capacity to be built, including 8 400MW of wind-generated power, 8 400MW of solar