Sat, 14 Dec 2019

Government's long-awaited energy plan has been released, and contains a number of surprising policy interventions.

Here are some of the notable inclusions in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2019), which was published on Friday.

Solar, wind favoured in new energy blueprint

By 2030, solar will supply 7% of electricity. Hydro plants will contribute 8%, nuclear 4.5% and the rest from gas and diesel.

This MTN boss could make billions from the massive Brulpadda gas find - and e.tv's owner could also benefit

Mantashe said government is very excited about Brulpadda and is keen to "facilitate" the development of the block. While government won't interfere, it wants the company to develop the find "the sooner, the better".

Koeberg will carry on till 2044

Eskom-owned Koeberg nuclear plant, SA's sole nuclear power plant, was designed to close its doors in 2024. But government says that because Koeberg is one of the best performing power plants in its arsenal, its operating life will be extended by another 20 years "by immediately undertaking the necessary technical and regulatory work".

Cap on coal prices

While not set out in the new plan, Mantashe mentioned on Friday that government wants a stricter cap on coal prices, as "coal producers can't make obscene profits".

Government wants to buy power from South Africans

South Africans must be encouraged to generate their own electricity, "through the enactment of policies and regulations that eliminate red tape without compromising security of supply," the reports states. It wants to immediately establish a "medium-term power purchase programme" to help ease the supply constraints from Eskom.

Battery hope

Storing excess energy for times when there's a demand crunch is crucial for South Africa, especially as more wind and solar projects come online. The trouble with wind and solar plants are that they generate power when there's wind and sun - not necessarily at peak demand periods.

The IRP2019 makes provision for the development of new storage technologies (including air energy storage, flywheel energy storage, hydrogen fuel cells), and says that Eskom is already preparing to pilot an energy storage-technology project based on batteries.

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