Webber Wentzel law firm partners Alexandra Felekis and Jason van der Poel were co-authors of an analysis of the 2019 Integrated Resources Plan presented by Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe on Friday.
IRP is important because it describes the government's plan for the future of power generation.
The 100-page document promotes an energy mix that includes coal, nuclear power, gas, hydropower and renewable energy. Coal will still contribute significantly (59%) to the country's power generation.
The company has not definitively presented how to repair Eskom – which is plagued by financial and operational challenges, and last week reintroduced the cargo spill after a conveyor belt that transported coal from the Grootgeluk coal mine to the Medupi plant in Limpopo. failed. Mantashe said in a briefing before the document that he could not answer questions related to Eskom – such as his separation – as the entity falls under the Department of Public Enterprises.
However, the energy plan recognizes the impact of the cargo spill on the economy and the need to strike a balance with energy supply and demand.
Here is what IRP2019 proposes and how – according to Felekis and Van der Poel – this will likely affect sustainable electricity supply.
1 Secure bookings are available: The plan proposes the immediate start of a medium-term energy purchase program to build reserve capacity. Mantashe said it is important to secure additional capacity to increase reserve margins.
2. Extend Koeberg Life: IRP2019 immediately recommends that technical and regulatory work begin immediately over the 20-year life span of the Koeberg nuclear power plant. The Western Cape-based nuclear plant is expected to reach the end of its life by 2024.
Mantashe said the government is talking to plant owner Eskom to extend the station's useful life for another 20 years.
3. Bring gas: Support the development of gas infrastructure by converting all peakers to gas. Mantashe launched gas as a supplement to intermittent renewable energy to meet peak hour demand.
The government is considering indigenous gas such as coal bed methane and locally recoverable shale and coastal gas, Mantashe said. IRP2019 provides for gas provision from 2024.
4) Eskom support as it reduces emissions: The plan highlights the need to help Eskom, financially and legally, meet minimum emission standards. SA is a signatory to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which means the government has committed to reducing emissions in the sector, Mantashe said.
5th. Minimize impact as plants are shut down: Approximately 24 100 MW of coal-fired power plants will be decommissioned between 2030 and 2050, and the power plan requires a team to be drafted to draw up a fair transition plan within one year in consultation with all social partners.
The panel will participate in plans and interventions to mitigate adverse impacts on people and local economies due to the factory's retirement program.
6. Keep supply stable: As stated, the government has decided not to "sterilize" the development of its coal resources for power generation purposes, but instead to plan energy and an environment that supports a fair transition.
According to Mantashe, while the country uses less carbon technologies than workers, the communities in the affected areas should not get worse.
7) Address investor confidence: The plan states that current annual construction limits for renewable sources (such as wind power and PV) will be maintained until the fair transition report is released.
Annual limits on renewable energy construction do not significantly affect projected capacity until the year 2030, he notes. Construction boundaries help provide an investment project pipeline that addresses investor confidence, according to the IRP.
"In the long run, and taking into account the policy of a diversified energy mix, the annual construction limits will have to be revised according to demand and supply demand," the document says.
8. Nuclear development: Begin preparations for a 2,500 MW nuclear construction program at a pace and scale that the country can afford because it is, according to the plan, "an option with no long-term regrets."
Mantashe told reporters that nuclear power would only be sought at a pace and scale that the country could afford. The government also seeks to develop small modular reactors as they are a more manageable investment than a large fleet.
9. Build Strategic Relationships: South Africa should support strategic energy projects in neighboring countries that allow the development of cross-border transmission infrastructure.
The country has signed a treaty for the Grand Inga Hydroelectric Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with 2,500 MW of power, notes IRP2019. The treaty allows energy to be transmitted to SA through the DRC, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana in South Africa.