South Africa to boost renewables

30 October 2019

Sian Crampsie

South Africa has published its latest Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), outlining a strategy to build over 22 GW of new wind, solar and storage capacity by 2030.

Under the 2019 IRP, the government forecasts that South Africa will remain reliant on coal in its energy mix, but will see renewable energy increasing in importance.

Coal makes up around 88 per cent of South Africa’s energy needs, and renewables around 3 per cent. The IRP indicates that coal’s contribution to the energy mix will drop to around 59 per cent in 2030, while renewables will reach almost 25 per cent.

Overall, the IRP envisages the addition of 14.4 GW of new wind capacity, 6 GW of new solar and just over 2 GW of storage by 2030.

“We are happy with the wind energy’s apportionments in the energy mix, as we transition to a clean energy future,” said Ntombifuthi Ntuli, CEO of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA). “With the bulk of the increase coming from renewable sources, it is a promising sign for our country as it faces pressure to reduce its carbon emissions and provide cheaper power.”

Ntuli added: “With 14.4 GW of wind having been allocated in the IRP, giving wind energy 18 per cent of the total capacity allocation, the wind industry views the commitment to 1.6 GW per annum as a positive step by government as this allocation will allow Original Equipment Manufacturers and first tier suppliers to commit to local manufacturing of certain components, which contributes directly to job creation.”

South Africa’s only nuclear power station, Koeberg, will reach the end of its life in 2024. The IRP proposes extending its lifetime to 2044, and the government is currently in talks with Eskom to achieve this. Although no new nuclear capacity is planned before 2030, the report says that consideration must be given to developing a future nuclear programme.


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