The Energy Research Centre at the University of Cape Town recently published its report Towards a New Power Plan. The report intends to stimulate debate around South Africa's future power sources. It was commissioned by the National Planning Commission as part of its on-going mandate to provide independent research and advice.
Many of the assumptions in the 2010 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) are now out of date and no longer valid. These include the anticipated demand growth, and data on technology and fuel availabilities and costs. According to Paul Vecchiatto from Business Day live, Department of Energy director-general Nelisiwe Magubane nonetheless told Parliament's energy committee on Tuesday April 16, that South Africa's nuclear programme is non-negotiable and the National Development Plan (NDP) supports it.
If the 2010 IRP continues to be used as a basis for investment decisions, it will result in a sub-optimal mix of generation plants, and higher electricity prices. The Energy Research Centre report concludes that even if much lower costs are assumed for South Africa's nuclear build programme, plus much higher demand growth, the earliest that nuclear might be required is 2029. However, alternatives to nuclear capacity including renewable energy solutions can be installed at lower cost, with shorter lead times, in smaller increments, thus reducing the risk of overbuild. It is therefore critical that the IRP assumptions are revised and that a new plan is developed.
Click here to download the report by the Energy Research Centre at the University of Cape Town.
Paul's contribution was also shared by the Electricity Governance Initiative - South Africa.