IRP2010 to be published in Feb, DoE confirms

The Energy Department's deputy director-general for electricity, nuclear and clean energy Ompi Aphane.The South African Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) exercise to model an energy-mix scenario that entirely excludes nuclear should be complete by the middle of February, deputy director-general for electricity, nuclear and clean energy Ompi Aphane tellsEngineering News Online.

The results will be published as part of the release of the final integrated resource plan (IRP) document and the outcome “will be taken into consideration in the determination of the risk-adjusted plan”.

The final IRP2010, as it is known, is also expected to be published early in 2011.

The remodelling is being conducted in light of arguments, which were made during last year’s draft IRP2010 public participation process, that renewable energy could viably displace the need for nuclear energy.

Lobby groups argued that the current plan, which proposes that 9 600 MW of nuclear energy be added to South Africa power-generation mix between 2023 and 2030, does not adequately cater for the option for a nonnuclear based portfolio.

“In order to demonstrate the openness of the DoE to proposals from outside stakeholders we agreed to proceed with this modelling. This would also help in dispelling the suspicion that the DoE is biased against renewable energy,” Aphane explains, adding that the exercise will seek to demonstrate the cost and system security impacts for such a scenario.

The DoE will employ the same cost parameters applied to the rest of the technologies in the draft IRP2010, which draws its information from the Electric Power Research Institute.

The figures are likely to be strongly contested, along with government assertions that a new nuclear power plant can deliver electricity at below 80c/kWh – about double the current wholesale tariff, but below the long-term price of around 100 c/kWh to 110 c/kWh outlined in the IRP2010.

“We are reluctant to use untested and sector-based datasets, as this would open the whole process to lobbying by various interest groups,” Aphane argues.

Currently, the draft IRP2010 proposes that nuclear comprises 14% of South Africa’s base-load energy mix by 2030, with the first new capacity proposed to enter the system from 2023.

The DoE has also indicated that nuclear forms part of overall government plans to limit national carbon dioxide emissions to below 275-million tons by 2025, despite an expectation that South Africa will have to add 41 346 MW of generation capacity to the supply system, based on an economic growth trajectory of 4,5% a year over the period. Engineering NewsPicture by: Duane DawsThe Energy Department’s deputy director-general for electricity, nuclear and clean energy Ompi Aphane.