INTEGRATED RESOURCE PLAN
LISA STEYN: Unbundling Eskom is the key to securing SA’s energy needs
With technology costs of renewable technologies dropping dramatically, the price of power from solar PV and wind is now significantly lower than Eskom’s average cost of supply
The government’s long-awaited Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), finally released last week, maps an energy-generation future for SA that appears to leave little room for embattled utility Eskom post-2030, at least as it exists in its current form. The plan, which guides the way for power generation until 2030 and beyond, recognises that electricity demand is at the same level as a decade ago, and so has revised power demand forecasts down significantly. For this reason the need to even discuss the politically charged question of building nuclear power has, for now, been avoided. A nuclear build, aggressively lobbied for under the Zuma administration, would have made Eskom the designated owner and operator, despite the utility’s appalling track record in building mega-projects such as the Medupi and Kusile coal-fired power stations, which have faced years of chronic delays and billions in cost overruns. Instead, the draft IRP proposes a least-cost scenario comprising solar photovoltaic...