8 June 2010 – South Africa could require about 40 000 megawatts of new electricity capacity over the next 20 years, Nelisiwe Magubane, the director-general of the Department of Energy, said yesterday.
Magubane, however, said that this was a modest target considering that countries such as China were bringing on stream about 40 000MW of electricity capacity each year.
"Surely we cannot fail to meet our modest target of bringing on stream, over a period of two decades, what China is able to introduce each year," Magubane said.
She was speaking at a two-day stakeholder consultation on the integrated resource plan 2010 (IRP2010).
This plenary session is a public forum involving energy stakeholders who are interested in the process. It marked the beginning of a series of consultations on the medium-term future of electricity infrastructure in South Africa.
"One of the questions that we have to answer as we develop the IRP is the critically important issue of climate change and the need to reduce South Africa’s carbon footprint. We will do this guided by our very own long-term mitigation scenarios," she said.
Magubane rejected calls for the cancellation of the construction of the R142 billion Kusile power station on the grounds that it was becoming very expensive to build. Kusile is being built by Eskom.
"Though it is not for me to make that call, I think when we do cancel this project we need to have an alternative. At this stage, I do not think there is an alternative," Magubane said.