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South Africa To Release Long Overdue Energy Plan

Natural volumes expected to be lowest in the mix

 

By Sully Manope, Southern African correspondent, in Windhoek

The South African Government says it will release the Integrated Resource Plan IRP latest by Friday, August 24, 2018.

The document determines the country’s long-term electricity demand and details how the demand should be met in terms of generating capacity, type, timing and cost. 

The extant edition of the IRP, finalised in 2010, was promulgated in March 2011. Although it sets out the blueprint for likely demand and supply of energy and the type to be delivered between 2010-30, there has been expectations of its revision since 2014. The government itself has fuelled the expectation by repeatedly stating that the electricity demand outlook has changed from that expected in 2010.

That expectation, that the IRP would be significantly revised, has been part of the cause of uncertainty in the country’s energy sector.

That said, the new IRP will show how much gas is expected to be introduced for electricity in South Africa and that itself is a pointer for any investor seeking to play in the proposed South African gas market.

Early revisions of the 2010 plan bumped up the target set for gas from 2,370MW to 3,550MW. Compared with renewables (+9,0000MW) and Nuclear, (being under heavy debate, but expected to be higher than 5,000MW), this is still a minuscule contribution in the proposed total generation of 60,000MW by 2030.

Evidence that the South African government isn’t keen on pumping natural gas into Africa’s largest economy is it lackadaisical attitude to developing the Gas Utilisation Master Plan (GUMP), which has been under development for over five years. GUMP is meant to establish a framework for the investment in gas infrastructure, provide clarity about the role of gas in the South African market, set out the regulatory environment, government commitments and economic prediction for the use of gas and outline  demand, supply, market structure, industry organisation, environmental risks, financing and social impacts.

The country’s Gas to Power IPP Programme, which was announced with aplomb in 2016, has also faced headwinds.



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