The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) is making an urgent call for the release of the finalised Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in order to “create the certainty required to attract foreign investment”.
The draft IRP was tabled for public comment in August 2018 and an updated version was issued in March 2019.
As it stands, the IRP outlines coal-fired energy supplying 46% of South Africa’s energy mix by 2030, with further decommissioning of coal generation up until 2050. The supply of power met by solar, hydropower and wind sources is set to increase as a proportion of the country’s total energy generation capacity.
Pressure for the release of the IRP is mounting across all energy technologies, SAWEA policy and markets working group head Ben Brimble says, adding that this is “perfectly understandable” as this document provides a clear technology investment roadmap, which is essential to investor certainty.
Brimble explains that the finalisation of the IRP is important to confirm investor certainty to 2030 and that the policy uncertainty that the sector is currently facing, directly results in international investors looking to other markets to invest.
“If we aren’t able to provide clear policy, South Africa will continue to lose out on investment into this county. We are competing against the rest of the world when it comes to the investor dollar,” adds Brimble.
Given the socioeconomic challenges in South Africa, the plan should be based on a least-cost solution and technology mix in support of socioeconomic development and environmental sustainability, SAWEA suggests, adding that the country’s economy is “not at a stage where it can continue to wait for this critical investment roadmap”.
During his second State of the Nation Address (SoNA) this year, on June 20, President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasised that South Africa had the opportunity to take the lead on low-carbon industrialisation and green growth.
He called for an increase in the contribution of renewable energy to South Africa’s national generation mix; however, the SoNA failed to say when the outdated IRP would be finalised, SAWEA laments in its statement.
“Ramaphosa’s very positive tone has not yet filtered down to concrete decisions with regard to policy, so we continue to wait on the National Economic Development and Labour Council and hope for a green light soon,” Brimble notes.
EDITED BY: CHANEL DE BRUYN
CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR ONLINE