Government has thrown its weight behind renewable energy in the new integrated resources plan (IRP).
Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe on Monday gazetted the long-awaited IRP. Radebe had met with the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on Friday to finalise the IRP.
The policy outlines South Africa's electricity plan given the demand outlook up to 2030, Radebe explained.
The plan will see no increase in use of nuclear energy up until the year 2030, Radebe confirmed. There will be detailed technical analysis to see how much may be needed post 2030- up until 2050, he said. "Up until 2030 there is no envisaged increase."
During the briefing Radebe explained that electricity demand on the grid has been declining on an annual basis. "For the financial year ending March 2018 the actual total electricity consumed is about 30% less than what was projected in IRP 2010," said Radebe.
Further Eskom's existing generation plant performance is not at expected levels. Plant availability is below the IRP 2010 assumptions of 80% and above, the minister said.
The new IRP has taken into account the changing electricity demand and technology costs have been updated, and considerations were made on the constraints to renewables.
The recommended plan uses the least cost plan as a starting point, without constraints to renewable energy, Radebe said. It includes coal, hydro power, existing PV (photovoltaic), wind and gas.
Additional capacity up until 2030 will be sourced from coal (1 000 MW), hydro (2 500 MW), PV (5 670 MW), wind (8 100 MW) and gas (8 100 MW)
The total installed capacity mix in 2030 will be 34 000 MW coal (or 46% of total installed capacity), 1 860 MW nuclear (or 2.5%), 4 696 MW hydro (or 6%), 2 912 MW pump storage (or 4%), 7 958 MW PV (10%), 11 442 MW wind (15%), 600 MW concentrated solar power (1%) and 11 930 MW gas (16%).
Radebe said that although coal installed capacity will be lower than the current installed base, it will still contribute 65% of energy volumes. Nuclear will only contribute about 4%.
Responding to questions about the impact the IRP will have on the coal sector and particularly jobs, Radebe said that the department has prepared a document for stakeholders "dealing with issues for a just transition", as the plan is focused on renewable energy.
The public has 60 days to comment on the IRP.