Solar, wind find favour in SA’s new energy blueprint

Coal will continue to play a significant role in electricity generation, accounting for 59% of output.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe announces details of the IRP energy plan. Image: Moneyweb

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 electricity production capacity rising significantly by 2030, with the bulk of the increase coming from renewable sources.

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 date 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 released by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe in the capital, Pretoria, on Friday.

It envisions an additional 14 400 megawatts of power being produced from wind, 6 000 megawatts from photovoltaic solar plants, 3 000 megawatts from gas, 2 500 megawatts from hydropower and 1 500 megawatts from coal by 2030, Mantashe said.

It also foresees the completion of a project to extend the life of Koeberg, the nation’s sole atomic plant, by 20 years to 2044. Additional nuclear capacity will be installed at a pace and scale the country can afford, while investment will be made in more efficient coal technology, Mantashe said.

Coal will continue to play a significant role in electricity generation, accounting for 59% of output, while nuclear will contribute 5%, hydropower 8%, photovoltaic solar 6%, wind 18% and gas and storage 2%.

Eskom, which has amassed R450 billion in debt and is reliant on government bailouts to remain solvent, has instituted rotating blackouts since Wednesday after a series of breakdowns at its plants. The energy blueprint doesn’t discuss how the utility can be fixed — that will be addressed in separate plans that the government intends releasing by the end of the month.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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ANC announces integrated load shedding schedule for the next decade.

But in another article today commentators suggested that the wind farms are not connected to the grid. Could Moneyweb verify this?

Anything is possible in South Africa, but the way I see it, no investor will commit to the building of a wind farm without a contractual agreement from the government to buy the power at a predetermined price. Developers take the wind project up to the stage where it is ready to bid for in the REIPP window and only after their bid is successful, and there is an undertaking from the government to buy the power, does the project become bankable. Only then will an investor finance the construction of the plant.

This implies that all the wind farms that are in operation, are selling power to Eskom. The plants that need new commitments from Eskom are those that did win the last bidding rounds, but did not reach the bankable stage yet because the criminal Zuma-faction stalled the process. These projects will become bankable now and construction will start immediately. Then the new round of the REIPP will begin early next year for new projects.

The wind farms you see are all connected to the grid and selling power to you as a friendly and trustworthy Eskom client.

There are cases where the IPP is waiting for Eskom to honor its obligation in terms of Transmission connection. It was suppossed to happen in tandem to wind or solar farm development, but didn’t. Eskom then pays IPP a penalty for the lost margin of IPP.

If they are not connected at all, obviously they won’t be making money. Between Eskom and NERSA there is a monopoly on grid connection that should be done away with. The IPP schemes are mostly a drain on the economy as, I suspect, there are ANC chums in there milking the cow properly. Recent schemes are better but still not competitive with coal.

In my view power producing entities should be sold, freely and fairly then, new and old, solar, industry co generation (should be freely done) all compete to supply power to anyone who wants to buy; industry and municipalities. No BEE, AA, tenderprenuring etc etc. Never happen.

Thanks for the replies!

Just make sure you exclude anc “hot air” as a viable energy source…most unreliable and no amps!

What I don’t understand is that if you dare to take yourself of the grid (or try to diminish your reliance on Eskom), you have to get approval, then register, then you have to pay a levy because you dare to generate your own electricity… and they don’t want to buy back the extra electricity you generate. How do you explain that? Wouldn’t it make more sense (since they can’t deliver uninterrupted service) to encourage people to generate their own electricity, in the process preventing blackouts until such time as Eskom (and the politicians) get their heads out of their proverbials.

About bluddy time! Now the lazy ox of an ANC just needs to get off its behind and allow private PV to sell to the grid. They have already earmarked areas near Eskom power lines that can handle the extra power; areas that are useless for anything else except capturing sunshine. So what are we waiting for?

I can predict that the sun will come up tomorrow.

Will we now only get load shedding when the wind doesn’t blow and/or when the sun doesn’t shine.

Do you prefer to have your load shedding because someone forgot to grease the bearings on a conveyor belt?

A lot of users are already boxing clever. Say a large fruit cold storage facility:

Energy need is very well timed to solar production in the main production areas. So take chillers, blowers and pumps off-grid, leaving a much smaller grid connection. Example was 500kVA and 2000 MWh per year, now 100kVA and 600 MWh.

Load manager monitors solar, grid, and loads keeping grid below 100. If there is enough solar, the chillers run and too much solar they also run, making excess superchilled glycol reserves that facility draws agains if 100kVA grid and solar are not enough. In effect that superchilled reserve is a form of battery. During loadshed, run a small gennie just to drive blowers and pumps.

Many analysts claim that our energy consumption is less due to poor economy. I think there is MASSIVE impact through self consumed solar. Wine farms with their own cellars displace ⅔ of their energy on private solar.

So that 8% solar PV is probably more like 16% if you count self-consumption.

Biggest danger : the response from distributors. They will change model to charge enormous capacity fee and very low energy per kWh. That will in turn simply take more loads off-grid. That will leave those that cannot go solar with eye-wateringly expensive energy costs…

“I think there is MASSIVE impact through self consumed solar”

Spot on,also people have also replaced loads like geysers with solar geysers and heatpumps.

Its actually astonishing if you think about it like this:
Assume a family of 4 share a 200L Solar geyser, and lets assume they won’t need to heat any water again till the following day, essentially you have taken away a 3 maybe 4KW (depending on element) load right at the peak use time of the day 17:00-20:00

So per 1000 houses that essentially load shift, you defer 3-4MW worth of capacity.


Yep. In 2008 our house grid draw was about 30,000 units per year. Between solar hot water and LED and forgoing underfloor other than main bathroom, we now run about 5500 units a year – and have added an EV.

Efficiency and self consumption could mean our central grid in 2030 can be smaller than the grid we now mostly do not have.

The problem with solar comes back to storage. I put a 6.6kW system (24 panels) on my rooftop more on whim to conduct an experiment than anything else. The cost was AUD $12000 of which the state picked up the economic distortion to the tune of $9000. The jurisdiction in which I live (WA) buys back excess electricity at $0.07 per kWh but when you suck it out the grid you pay $0.26 per kWh. The rationale behind this is that the Power company buys it from the power station at $0.07 per kWh. The difference i.e. $0.19 per kWh is the grid (transmission network). Note 1AUD = R10 about. How does this test stack up? well the inverter is WiFi enabled so when you register the system each day’s energy production is recorded on the GoodWe database in China. In fact you can log in and see what your ‘solar system’ is doing at any time. Right now it’s pumping out 5kW. On average the system produces about 27.5kWh per day. On a cool summer day about 43kWh and on a rainy winters day 2 or 3kWh. In general we extract half as much from the grid that we feed into it but still pay electricity bills (60days) of ~$100 (summer) to ~$250 (winter). All cooking/ hot water/ heating is on gas which is ridiculously cheap ($50 per month). The problem we face is that for each kWh generated by solar, the grid carries one kWh less. Thus the burden on maintaining the grid is spread amongst fewer and fewer kWh thus the price needs to rise. From my perspective one cannot store this energy unless we buy a Power Wall ($14k for a miserable 6.4kWh). The excess energy is not enough to run three electric cars. Solar energy is just too diffuse even if my roof (large 4BR, double garage house) is covered. One cannot get rid of the grid as there are high rise dwellings, office blocks, factories etc that need grid power. The peak power consumption is in the evening not in the day.

Now Eskom with the brilliant “plan” are going to use wind power and solar power. So the capital expenditure is double as one needs a backup when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine. Batteries are a joke in this respect. This double cost of capital will be borne by the taxpayer and/or the consumer. It does not matter if the power is supplied by an ISP- they still have to cover their capital cost which they pass on to Eskom.


I also monitor my system daily, however having Victron equipment it goes to a server somewhere in the Netherlands 😛

It sounds to me like you are just running a normal grid tie with no battery backup (With a Goodwe 5048D-ES I assume?)

But at 12K AUD = R120K it sounds like you got a little shafted (And also if you where never planning on adding storage then its a badly designed system because then you could have just bought a PV inverter for much cheaper)

Inverter: Goodwe +- R27K
Panels : R5.5+- per watt 6600W = R36.6K
Isolators/Fuses/Combiner box/Cable = R10K +-
Mounting structure : R8K+-
Labour : R10-R15K
Total : R95K +-

“In general we extract half as much from the grid that we feed into it but still pay electricity bills (60days) of ~$100 (summer) to ~$250 (winter). All cooking/ hot water/ heating is on gas which is ridiculously cheap ($50 per month).”

You then need to focus your attention on shifting your loads as much as you can to the daytime so that you can “buy” your own power first and only export the remainder, since you already have the excess electrical power I would swap out those gas appliances for electrical ones, because your gas vs electrical budget per month is the same in summer (assuming your 100AUD 60 days means over 60 days the total was 100AUD)
So in summer your gas bill = 50AUD and electrical bill = 50AUD

Swap your gas water heater for a heat pump or EV tubes it will cost you R20K and in summer you will generate the equivalent of 8kWh of heating easily.
if you go the heatpump route you can also install under floor heating and use you excess solar power to run the heat pump to heat your house.
You already have the energy generation, why not use it? And eliminate your monthly gas bill? 50AUD per month for gas for me would be a insane cost.

“Thus the burden on maintaining the grid is spread amongst fewer and fewer kWh thus the price needs to rise.”
I completely agree here, current grid pricing models are not really suited for renewables, my lazy solution to this would be to have clients pay a higher connection availability cost to have access to the grid because whether they buy 1kWh or 1MWh the cost of maintaining the grid stays the same, it is a interesting problem, and it might even be the most complicated one to solve (que micro grids?)

“unless we buy a Power Wall ($14k for a miserable 6.4kWh).”
1 : A powerwall has a built in 5KW inverter as well as the battery, so would be able to pair it with a PV inverter which is much cheaper per KW.

2: The first gen powerwall was 6.5kWh Powerwall 2 is now a 13.5kWh battery

3:It costs 10 000 AUD, 11 700AUD Incl all the required equipment.

My household uses around 8-11kWh from sun set to sunrise, so I could theoretically go off grid with a few small lifestyle changes on a single powerwall.


30 000 units a year! Good job on getting that down!
When its only me and the wife I have gotten mine down to as low as 4200 kWh P.A
My goal is to use less than 10kWh per day, so I am now a energy hawk running around the house and switching off anything that doesn’t need to be on, the next thing on the chopping block is my pressure pump which is going to be replaced with a new DAB VSD pump (I can also interface with it and log data)
I also have a obsession with data logging I log WAY too much data of what is going on in my house than I probably should 😛
But once you start collecting all this data, you can start to solve all the small energy inefficiencies creeping around.

Ja no well fine – My dear suffering Eskom users – please compare your load shedding hours to that of the non paying Soweto and you might get a huge surprise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I find it puzzling that solar isn’t a bigger part of the picture. One thing we do not lack in South Africa is sunshine!

End of comments.



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