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South Africa’s energy plan takes a road trip

Since receiving the go-ahead from Cabinet on 16 October, Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has taken South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2019) on a spontaneous road trip.

Originally published in the ESI Africa weekly newsletter on 2019/11/06

The minister has accepted multiple speaking engagements at conferences (Windaba, Africa Oil & Power, and AMEU Convention to name a few) where he used the stage as a marketing opportunity to promote our updated electricity supply blueprint.

The event audience comprises of industry stakeholders who have already examined the IRP2019 document in its entirety and are well-informed on its failings and strengths.

So why has Mantashe felt it necessary to drive the message home?

The identified generation technology mix chosen to meet the expected electricity demand growth up to 2030 is not perfect. Critics of the plan have pointed out that coal does not form part of a least-cost electricity path.

There is also concern around the viability of including the Grand Inga project in any form in the plan. While a lack of how the technologies will be executed – specifically around our budding gas-to-power market – is top of mind.

However, Mantashe has continued on his road trip. The most recent event on his promo-travel is the Africa Oil Week, where he reiterated that the “philosophy aims to ensure energy security”. But no mention of the regulation needed to support and deliver this.

Another message the minister is pushing is that we “are not transitioning from coal to renewables” but changing our narrative from “high to low carbon emissions”.

In his latest speech, he points out that natural gas can “improve the efficiencies of many industries currently using sub-optimal fuel sources in their production processes and resulting in a turnaround in the industrial capacity and demand in the region”.

It’s now up to the amendment to the Gas Act of 2001, which will be tabled in Cabinet soon, to show us the way forward for the energy plan.

Join us today at 13h00 GMT as we unpack how the regulatory framework is shaping the gas market in a live webcast with four industry experts.

Until next week.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.