Implementation of the 2019 IRP will continue as the plan is reviewed, consulted and updated

Director General of the Directorate of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) Jacob Mbele confirmed that the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2019) will continue to be implemented as it is reviewed, consulted and updated – a process that is expected to continue through 2023.

Speaking at an energy transition dialogue hosted by the Presidential Climate Commission, Mbele argued that the 2019 IRP, which is widely accepted to include outdated assumptions, was “not out of place”. and that its implementation would continue in this way.

“The IRP update process does not suspend the implementation of critical capability, as provided for in the 2019 IRP.

“We are therefore proceeding with the implementation and deployment of the remaining capacity in the 2019 IRP,” he said during the virtual event, which took place against the backdrop of a load shedding in Classes.

Eskom said up to 6,000MW of new capacity is needed to reduce the risk of rotational power cuts, as well as to provide it with the “headroom” needed to carry out maintenance on a neglected and underserved coal park. -maintained that has become subject to unforeseen breakdowns.

Mbele and the Minister Gwede Mantashe previously indicated that a ministerial determination is being prepared for the residual 14,000 MW of renewable energy allocated in the 2019 IRP, but not yet considered in existing ministerial determinations.

These determinations remain a prerequisite for initiating procurement processes for additional production capacity.

Mbele said that Eskom’s energy planners had been asked to carry out the power system modeling and analysis required for the update and that the department had also commissioned the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Institute of electrical power research to assist in the examination of IRP’s key assumptions. , including those related to demand forecasting and technology costs.

He said the review would also take into account South Africa’s revised emissions reduction commitment as outlined in its enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution 2021 update ahead of COP26. , between 420 and 350 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. by 2030. The lower supply range would be in line with what would be required of South Africa to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 ohVS

Mbele declined to be drawn on a date for the publication of the updated IRP, saying only that it would “certainly not take the five years it took to land the 2019 IRP”.

In a separate presentation, the DMRE Thabang Audat said the goal is to complete the update before the end of 2023.

Audat said the process would have three phases and that the first phase, which included an assessment of the current plan, was underway, with the assessment of the application already completed.

The second phase would focus on the actions needed to close the gap between supply and demand in the short term, while the third would focus on the balance between supply and demand in the longer term, the DMRE having already stated that the time horizon of the new IRP would be extended. beyond 2030.


from Eskom Ronald Marais indicated that the energy plan should take into account that energy services which were traditionally provided as a bundle through conventional technologies such as coal, gas and nuclear should be taken over, purchased and paid for as more variable renewables energy was introduced.

Marais said that there were no system requirements for the so-called base load plant, but that the services of peak capacity, distributed ramp-up, synchronous power, frequency control and tension management would still be needed.

Comparing the electrical system to a bakery supplying cakes, Marais explained that a system based on conventional technologies was used to supply ready-made cakes of various sizes in the form of basic supply, half-merit and point.

The emerging system, meanwhile, would consist of the ingredients needed to deliver the cakes, with a combination of new technologies providing the stacked services required by the system operator. Marais pointed out that these ingredients of energy, capacity and ancillary services should be paid for through the tariff.

He argued that households that had invested in solar-inverter-battery systems had come to appreciate these ingredients, with the solar panels providing power, the batteries providing capacity, and the inverter providing ancillary services needed to operate the system.

Marais also stressed the importance of paying for the grid, noting that national and international studies point to the central role of the grid in enabling the shift to renewable energy.

“If you don’t have a big, big grid to harvest all the renewable energy at times when they vary across the spatial framework of the country, you’re not going to get a lower cost optimization.

“So it’s absolutely critical to have a grid that can move electricity from where the renewables are being generated and give you that lowest cost option.”

The CSIRs Warrick Pierce said the IRP, which is a techno-economic model that describes the least-cost way for supply to meet demand, while taking into account other policy objectives, including emissions commitments and minimum emission standards, would address what to build and by when.

However, Pierce said the update would also likely be influenced by key national and international themes such as the liberalization and decentralization of the electricity market, as well as the fact that electricity customers have more in addition to electricity resources that should be taken into account.

Furthermore, the IRP should be co-optimized with transmission and distribution requirements, as well as increased sector coupling, notably through the introduction of electric vehicles.

University of Cape Town Energy Systems Research Group Jesse Burton highlighted various other policy considerations for the update, including affordability, the threat of imposing carbon border adjustments on South African exports, and the health benefits associated with the transition from coal to energy renewable.

Burton also argued that the IRP should not focus solely on supply and should seek to integrate energy efficiency and demand side management, or EEDSM.

“EESDM is one of the really quick interventions that we can use to keep the lights on.

“But it also has long-term impacts…[as] you can reduce the need for new investment in the power sector, and some of the work we’ve done shows that the reduction could be as much as R100 billion.

“So there is a huge untapped resource to run processes more efficiently and to shift load and demand, and a true IRP will consider the demand side and the opportunities it would give us as well as the supply side. .”

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