Updated energy plans to be open for public comment - cabinet


Cape Town – Long-awaited and outdated energy plans will soon be in the public eye for input into the future of South Africa's energy needs.

Cabinet has officially approved the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) and Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which will give guidance on the country’s energy infrastructure development and type of energy generation respectively, it said in a statement on Thursday. 

The IEP, which is anchored in the National Energy Act of 2008, will be published for public discussion to give stakeholders and interested parties the chance to engage with it.  

Integrated energy planning is necessary to make sure that current and future energy service needs can be met in the most efficient manner, in a way which benefits society the most. It also controls costs and serves national needs such as poverty alleviation and job creation, while helping to minimise any adverse impact on the environment.

The IEP provides a long-term vision of how South Africa can make optimum use of energy to remain competitive, which inherently requires a shift in how various energy resources are used.

The IRP will also be subjected to public consultation on base case and assumptions.

A number of developments have effected the energy sector since the initial IRP of 2010.

“The IRP update process balances a number of objectives to ensure security of supply so as to minimise the cost of electricity, to promote job creation and localisation, to minimise negative environmental impacts, minimise water use and to diversify supply sources.”

The first milestone, which is the compilation of assumptions to be used in the IRP, has been reached, pending public consultation. 

The second milestone on the development of the base case, which is a least cost plan, has been completed. 

The third milestone, which is a scenario analysis, is under way, while the fourth milestone is policy adjustment.

READ: Treasury: Nuclear can’t undermine fiscal integrity

In the statement Cabinet also officially announced that Eskom will be the owner operator and procurer for nuclear power plants for a nuclear build programme in South Africa, ending weeks of speculation on the matter. 

The decision to task Eskom with the build programme was in accordance with the Nuclear Energy Policy of 2008. 

Cabinet amended its decision of June 10 2015 to designate the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) as the implementing agent for the nuclear new build programme. At the time this decision allowed Eskom to focus on the Medupi, Kusile and Ingula projects and the energy challenges the country was experiencing.

According to the statement, Eskom has more than 30 years of experience in the safe operation of the Koeberg nuclear power plant, Africa's only nuclear power plant, and has been developing the environmental impact assessment and nuclear site safety reports for possible nuclear power plants since 2007.

READ: Nuclear plan on ice as Eskom may take ownership 

Cabinet also approved designating Necsa as the owner operator and procurer for nuclear fuel cycle and multi-purpose reactors.

The Department of Energy will continue to act on its mandate as the policy setting and coordinating department of the nuclear build programme, Cabinet said. 

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