Money to burn: what’s wrong with the new energy blueprint

Business

Money to burn: what’s wrong with the new energy blueprint

What SA needs is lower-cost renewables instead of more expensive diesel and coal – but the IRP is not up to this

Jesse Burton, Harro von Blottnitz, Jules Schers and Andrew Marquard

After 10 years of often acrimonious public debate, five energy ministers and several aborted attempts to update it, the government has managed for the first time since 2010 to finalise and gazette an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The plan outlines how the power system will develop from now until 2030.

Having a plan for the electricity sector is undoubtedly a good thing, especially now, when the sector is beset not only by crisis (largely of our own making) but also facing two huge global challenges – disruptive technology and climate change – on top of the more traditional challenges of security of supply and providing the economy, and especially poor households, with affordable energy.

However, it is not clear that this IRP fully equips SA to either meet the challenges or grasp the opportunities on offer...

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