If there is one area of policy and planning that has been thoroughly fouled up by political interference and political agendas, it’s energy. SA, business in particular, has been kept in the dark for more than five years over the country’s energy future as a succession of ministers tried to bend and force and twist the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) into impossible shapes. The aim of the plan is to map out the country’s projected energy needs over 20 years and to model the most cost-effective and secure energy mix. The information in the IRP gives both consumers and investors who want to make energy-reliant investments some perspective on supply. It also provides the government and Eskom (and now private producers too) with information on when to build what. On the face of it, this is a largely technical exercise. Political decisions, such as the need for energy security, do come into the plan, but it is for the most part an exercise in modelling economic growth, energy demand, price...

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