Tue, 07 Jul 2020

Solar, wind favoured in new energy blueprint

18 Oct 2019, 22:13 GMT+10

In South Africa, solar and wind are in, and coal is gradually on the way out.

That's the key takeaway from the latest Integrated Resource Plan, which maps out the energy mix for the next decade. It envisions the nation's total electricity-production capacity rising to 77 834 megawatts by 2030 - with the bulk of the increase coming from renewable sources - from about 52 104 megawatts.

A switch to more green energy comes as South Africa faces pressure to meet emissions-reduction targets. State power utility Eskom produces about 95% of the nation's power, the bulk of it from coal-fired power plants - many of which are approaching retirement and don't comply with environmental standards.

A first version of the resource plan was adopted in 2011. While the government said it would be regularly updated and published several drafts, they were never approved. The latest iteration of the blueprint was published in the Government Gazette on Friday.

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Power mix

It envisions an additional 14 400 megawatts of power being produced from wind, 6 000 megawatts from solar plants, 3 000 megawatts from gas and diesel, 2 500 megawatts from hydropower and 1 500 megawatts from coal by 2030. Under a previous draft of the plan, the nation would derive significantly more power from gas, but its contribution to the energy mix was reduced because it would have taken too long to bring plants on line.

Coal's contribution

Eskom is expected to shut coal-fired plants that produce about 10 590 megawatts of energy within a decade, while just 7 232 megawatts of new production capacity that utilises the fuel will come on stream, according to the plan. The bulk of that will come from the Medupi and Kusile power stations, which are currently under construction.

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