SA’s draft Integrated Resource Plan, the blueprint for the country’s electricity mix, has been ‘stuck’ in Nedlac discussions for months because of deep ideological differences that experts say are preventing parties from reaching agreement on the final version. According to a Fin24 report, some energy experts say the fear of job losses in the coal sector is at the root of the lack of consensus to a plan that moves away from a dominance of coal to more renewables and gas, and say unless government can lead the way by showing how this transition will be managed to minimise job losses, it will go nowhere. Jesse Burton of UCT’s Energy Research Centre said government needed to develop a clear and workable plan on how the move to a low carbon economy would be implemented on the ground. ‘We need the “how” spelled out. It is not enough to say that renewable energy creates more jobs. We need to see plans to put renewable energy in the areas in Mpumalanga where coal is now. It is very clear that government has not created the conditions for workers to see that,’ Burton said. Hilton Trollip, electrical engineer and researcher at UCT’s Energy Research Centre, said it is is a major problem that the IRP has been stuck with Nedlac for so long, with parties locked in ideological debates rather than putting in place implementation plans.‘The question is how much gets broken while the fight goes on. Will it be a scorched earth policy? Or can the private sector get creative with government to manage the transition together?’ Trollip said. Asked to comment, Nedlac said it was unable to say when the IRP process would be completed as that was up to the sectors within the Nedlac organisation.