Cabinet approves the IRP2010

Cape Town – A total of 42 percent of all new electricity generation will be expected to come from renewable energy over the next 20 years, with the approval of the Department of Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010 plan, said the Director General of Energy Nelisiwe Magubane today.

This is a radical increase from the 30 percent of new generation assigned to renewable energy under the draft IRP plan released for public comment last year.

Cabinet yesterday approved the IRP2010 as well as the tabling to Parliament of the Independent System and Market Operator (Ismo) Bill, which will facilitate the participation of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in electricity generation.

Addressing media in Cape Town today, Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane, said the IRP2010, which will now be promulgated by the Department of Energy, will form the basis of South Africa’s power generation programme for the next 20 years.

“The IRP2010 is aligned to the objectives set in the Long Term Mitigation Scenarios and the commitments made to the climate change imperatives, especially the Copenhagen Accord,” said Chabane.

Under the approved IRP2010, coal is now expected to make up 15 percent of all new energy generation – down from 16 percent under the draft IRP2010 plan – open cycle gas turbines (OGCT) 9 percent (down from 15 percent), hydro 6 percent (down from 9 percent), imported gas 6 percent (up from 5 percent), while nuclear will be 23 percent (down from 25 percent).

Chabane said the setting up of Ismo was a key imperative to a “disciplined, open and transparent electricity sector.”

He said IPPs would help build new generation capacity and spread the burden and risk relating to providing power capacity needed to grow the economy.

Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters, said the IRP2010 was not set in stone, but rather allowed the government “at different intervals” to make tariff changes or adopt new more cost-effective technologies should these become available.

Peters said Ismo allows for the setting up of a buying office that allows electricity to be bought from independent power producers.

In all, 9 600 megawatts for nuclear has been set aside, but Peters stressed that the IRP2010 did not indicate how many nuclear power stations were required – a task team would look at this further.

She stressed that there was as yet no contract with any company to build new nuclear power stations in the country.

Magubane explained that the Portfolio Committee of Energy had recently travelled to France to better understand some of the concepts of nuclear power.

Peters said her department has been holding various roundtables to explain energy mix and would also soon be launching an energy efficiency campaign.

Turning to concerns from journalists over the safety of South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town, following radiation leaks from Japan’s Fukuyama nuclear power station, Peters said that South Africa complied with all safety protocol as it was a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Cabinet also approved the Industry Policy Action Plan for 2011/12 to 2013/14 and also approved South Africa’s approach to the second tripartite summit and free trade agreement between Southern African Development Community (SADC), East African Community (EAC) and Common Market of East and Southern Africa (Comesa). – BuaNews

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