This week, the Portfolio Committee on Energy conducted public hearings over two days on the Draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018) for electricity.
The committee received approximately 36 submissions from industry players in the energy sector. This also includes environmental and research bodies.
Various organisations had different views on the Draft IRP. Some organisations called for an energy mix which includes nuclear energy, while some submissions said the IRP needs to focus on clean energy.
During the public participation process, environmental organisations said the Draft IRP released for public comment has improvements as compared to the 2010 and 2016 ones. However, some presenters expressed unhappiness about the proposed two Independent Power Producers’ (IPPs’) coal-fired power stations.
The majority of the organisations were also against the inclusion of the Grand Inga Hydro Project in the IRP, arguing that there is a high degree of uncertainty surrounding the project.
Certain organisations such as Greenpeace said allowing and including coal-fired plants would have devastating environmental effects. Greenpeace called on the Draft IRP to remove the 1 000 MW of new coal and the closing down of Eskom’s old power stations.
Other submissions noted that the Draft IRP 2018 differs significantly from the promulgated 2010 one, which is aligned to the National Development Plan and other legislative and policy documents.
Black Energy Professionals Association (BEPA) said the Draft IRP looks more like a new plan than an update of the IRP 2010. BEPA was of the view that the Draft IRP 2018 removes key technologies that gave high job creation, industrialisation, localisation and economic development potential. BEPA, in its recommendations, said the Draft IRP 2018 should consider all factors considered in the IRP 2010 and the recommendations of the document based on legislation and policy.
General Electric (GE) said South Africa should not discard coal environmental challenge in its current state, but rather harness it for job creation and infrastructure development. GE recommended that the final IRP retain the balance of the 1600MW determination, using ultra super critical technology.
The Draft IRP received a lot of criticism, Earth Sea Corporation (ESC) said the proposed IRP does little to encourage a green gas industry which is badly needed by logistics companies and industrialists for the manufacturing process. ESC was of the view that the IRP does not encourage South Africans to manufacture their own sustainable power-generating equipment and prefers to import major equipment, and therefore creating jobs in other countries.
The committee welcomed the inputs from the various stakeholders however, Chairperson for the Committee Mr Fikile Majola said, further discussion is needed around the issue of coal as there are various viewpoints on the issue.
The hearings will continue next week (23, 24 and 26 October 2018) with further inputs from various stakeholders and on the last day, the public will have the opportunity to make oral presentations.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.