The deadline to comment on the draft integrated resource plan (IRP), SA’s energy blueprint, has now passed, after extensive input from various interested parties. Yet the only thing that is clear at this stage is that policymakers have their work cut out for them. The long-awaited redraft of SA’s energy map into 2030 envisages renewable energy making up 26% of the installed power supply; the largest allocations will be 15% for wind and 10% for solar. Gas power will also be in the mix, expected to account for 16% of installed supply. Smaller amounts of hydro, pump-storage and concentrated solar power are also included in the draft. But the contentious and costly nuclear build that was driven by former president Jacob Zuma is off the table, for now at least. Though the IRP finds coal-fired power more costly than other technologies, it caters through policy intervention for projects already in the pipeline. This means coal power will still account for a sizeable 45% of the energy mix i...

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