Whilst the South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC) has welcomed the 2016 update of the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) and Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) they advocate that the public participation process addresses a number of concerns that the industry has raised.
SAREC, an umbrella body representing the interests of the solar and wind industries, has come out in cautious support of the recently released 2016 update of the IEP and IRP, which for the first time since 2010, allows all stakeholders to participate in an informed debate on the choices and timings of the technology choices that will enable the delivery of affordable and sustainable energy to South Africa.
“In terms of the Department of Energy’s activity plan, such debate should culminate in the promulgation of a final IRP shortly after March 2017,” said Brenda Martin, Chair of the South African Renewable Energy Council.
Wind and solar PV stays in SA
According to SAREC, wind and solar PV technologies will continue to play a significant role in the country’s future energy path. However, the industry body intends to encourage broad stakeholder groups to make use of the opportunity and process available to address certain issues.
In terms of issues that need to be debated, Martin explains: “It isn’t clear as to why constraints imposed on renewable technologies in the IRP 2010 is continuing to be maintained in the 2016 update, considering that the track record of renewable power prices awarded in Rounds 1 to Rounds 4 of REIPPP, illustrates a clear decline, even faster than those anticipated back in 2010.”
Focus of IRP debate
Other questions that SAREC would like to be processed through the public participation include:
- Whether rational planning and resulting investment choices have been made on the basis of ‘least cost’.
- Whether all opportunities to achieve both energy and developmental objectives are being utilized. The enviable record of deployment and delivery of socioeconomic benefits means that larger allocations of technologies aligned with the achievement of South Africa’s development agenda should be considered.
- Why the wind and solar PV prices used in the IRP base case scenario are at variance to real prices being awarded to preferred bidders in Round 4 of the REIPPP.
- The absence of CSP technology in the IRP base case scenario without any clear explanation.
Finally, the IRP 2016 assumes that all determinations gazetted by the Minister of Energy to-date should proceed as planned over the next four years.
SAREC therefore urgently insists that the DOE ensures due process with the financial close of the Round 4 and small IPP preferred bidder projects and the announcement of Expedited Round preferred bidders.