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Independents want to build next power plant

Coal-fired power “’
independent producers
want to build the next
Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 03 December 2010 – Independent power producers are lobbying the government to allow them to build the country’s next coal-fired power station after Kusile earlier than 2027, as proposed in the draft second integrated resource plan.

The proposal, made at yesterday’s two-day public hearings on the resource plan in Midrand, is a bold move given the lack of participation by independent power producers in South Africa’s power generation, reports Business Day. The second integrated resource plan will direct the expansion of the country’s electricity supply over the next 20 years.

Speaking at the hearings yesterday, representatives of Anglo American, South African Independent Power Producers Association (Saippa) and listed mining group Exxaro said independent power producers should build the country’s next coal-fired power station after Eskom’s Kusile plant. The resource plan provides for 4 000MW of coal- fired power in 2027.

In his presentation, Exxaro’s Sugen Naidu said the move would increase the security of supply and mitigate risk if something does not go according to plan. Such risks include delays in the commissioning of Kusile and Medupi and nuclear power. According to the plan, new nuclear capacity will be commissioned in 2023.

Mr Naidu said there was a "total" dependence on Eskom’s build programme. “If Eskom is delayed, there is no other option.” He said building the coal plants earlier than 2027 would reduce reliance on costly gas and diesel generators.

Anglo American Thermal Coal regional head of strategy Ian Hall said that the resource plan should make more provision for non- Eskom power in order to ensure security of supply. Co-generation could alleviate the pressure on power supply at low risk, he added.

Generating power for own use had been identified as the most achievable mitigation to power supply constraints, Hall contended. Anglo American has a 450MW power project in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga.

Chikoma Kazunga of Saippa said South Africa’s future electricity demand needed the participation of independent power producers, "yet the level of (independent power producers’) participation is uncertain".

Mr Kazunga stated independent producers were ready and willing to contribute to power supply.

Today is the last day of the public hearings, and completion of the public hearings is a step towards the promulgation of the resource plan.

The Department of Energy has said that the plan will most likely be promulgated by the end of the first quarter of next year.