No new nuclear for now, little new coal

Energy future relies heavily on renewables, gas.
The new Integrated Resource Plan, announced by Energy minister Jeff Radebe (pictured) provides for for no nuclear, and little new coal generation capacity until 2030. Picture: Moneyweb

Stakeholders have 60 days to comment on an energy plan that provides for no new nuclear, and little new coal generation capacity until 2030.  The new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) does, however, rely heavily on the expansion of renewable and gas generation capacity.

Detailed studies will be undertaken to, among other things, inform decisions about the need for new nuclear capacity beyond 2030 and up to 2050.

Energy minister Jeff Radebe on Monday announced that according to the plan, the country’s energy mix by 2030 would be:

Technology

MW

%

Coal

34 000

46

Gas

12 000

16

Wind

11 442

15

Photovolatic (PV)

7 958

10

Pump storage

2 912

4

Hydro

4 697

6

Nuclear

1 869

2.5

The plan provides for only 600 MW concentrated solar power but this could be increased to replace some of the other renewables under certain conditions.

While the coal share of installed capacity is drastically reduced, from around 77% currently, it will still account for 65% of the electricity volumes with nuclear providing about 4%. That is due to the intermittent nature of the other technologies.

Radebe said a number of assumptions have changed significantly since the publication of the IRP2010.

The electricity demand continues to decline and is currently at volumes similar to those in 2007. It is about 30% lower than anticipated in the IRP2010.

Eskom’s generation fleet is underperforming against the IRP2010 assumption of 80% plant availability.

Additional generation capacity of 18 000MW has been committed to, including coal, pumped storage and renewables. Most of it has already been connected to the grid and the balance will be connected to the grid by 2022.

The cost of new technologies has declined significantly.

Radebe said beyond 2030 the energy mix will change significantly due to the decommissioning of older coal plants. The department will undertake detailed studies to inform the energy mix after 2030 and up to 2050.

These include socio-economic impact analysis of the decommissioning of coal plants, a study of gas supply options, an analysis of the appropriate levels of renewables and other clean technologies like clean coal and nuclear.

In drafting the IRP2018 the department of energy used a least cost plan as starting point. On a least cost basis, the plan provides for only photovoltaic, wind and gas generation.

The following policy interventions were however made:

  • Annual build limits for renewables, to ensure a consistent and sustained roll out;
  • The inclusion of 2 500MW of hydro power from the DRC’s Inga Hydro Power Project;
  • The inclusion of 1 000MW new coal generation based on two projects that have already been procured and announced;
  • The utilisation of the existing photovoltaic, wind and gas allocations as proxies for technologies that provide similar technical characteristics at similar or less cost;
  • The allocation of 200MW per year for generation-for-own-use of between 1MW and 10MW.

The plan subsequently provides for the following new generation capacity by 2030 over and above what has already been committed: 1 000MW coal, 2 500MW hydro, 5 670MW photovoltaic, 8 100MW wind and 8 100MW wind.

The following table illustrates the pace of the roll out:

Source: Integrated Resource Plan 2018

Radebe said the department will accelerate or decelerate the implementation of the plan in accordance with the Medium Term System Adequacy Outlook published by energy regulator Nersa.

Radebe said following the 60 days comment period, the final IRP2018 will have to be approved by cabinet and should be published before the end of the year.

Find the draft Integrated Resource Plan 2018 here.

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Just sell it all, Privatise, don’t worry about the rest.
Its a shame though that we don’t implement better technologies. The hurdles for a private company to build nuclear at their own expense (and gain I might add) is simply too limiting.

Private company investing nuclear? That would be madness at would cost them multiples of what they buy power from Eskom for.

They are however investing heavily in solar, private wouldn’t be doing that if it didn’t make sense.

No you misunderstand. Private companies, replacing Eskom as the supplier of electricity.
There as small modular reactors which are quite a lot more affordable.
It is not a short term investment regardless, but it can work.

Just waiting for the dreaded unions to kick up a fuss.

Clean Technology is highly appreciated except the fact that Eskom sells its coal generated electricity for 80c per KW. Whereas Eskom is forced to buy the Renewable Energy grid at R2.22 per KW and sell it for 80c per KW, thats detrimental to Eskom financial position.

The renewable energy companies must compete with Eskom at an open market.

Will be a problem. Eskom build and funded by TAXPAYERS money so it will be unfair and impossible now to expect renewable to compete in open market with private money. Not sure about 80c/KW for Eskom. With R400 billion in debt escalating??

I wish people would take the influence of these coal stations and the transport on the roads into account when calculating the cost associated. Also the medical problems from air pollution. Coal really is crappy.

End of comments.

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