A heated argument over South Africa’s energy mix and potentially harmful conflicts of interests has emerged according to local reports.
The debate, hosted by the South African Wind Energy Association, (SAWEA), featured various members of the energy, finance and environmental sectors.
Adele Greyling, Eskom’s renewable power programme manager, is confident the mix could include 25% renewable sources by 2030.
“We hope that when the integrated resource plan is finalised it addresses security of supply concerns, but still provides diversification.
“Medupi might be the last coal power station,” she said.
South Africa is setting a high bar to reduce emissions by 34% by 2020 and 42% by 2025.
But with growing demand for power and shrinking reserve capacity this may be ambitious, some observers noted.
South Africa, with installed capacity of around 40000MW, produces 90% of its electricity from coal according to the latest reported estimates.
Most of the remainder is from the Koeberg nuclear reactor in Cape Town and various hydroelectric and pumped storage schemes with less than 1% of energy comes from renewable sources.
SAWEA chairperson Mark Tanton said it was possible for renewable energy to comprise 25% of the country’s electricity mix.
“We say there is already 6000MW of installed (wind) capacity ready to be commissioned right now, but we’d like to see sanity prevail when looking at the true costs of the various technologies,” he said.
According to news reports, Chris Yelland, publisher of EE Publishers, said the fact that the IRP task team comprised moneyed industry players such as Eskom, Xstrata, Anglo American, Exxaro, Sasol and BHP Billiton was a cause for concern.
He said the absence of consumer groups and a wider industry spectrum would skew the IRP process in favour of certain agendas to the detriment of the rest of society.