Call made for major overhaul of SA’s electricity planning system

(C) creamer Media
Anton Eberhard

South Africa’s prevailing electricity planning and investment paradigm has come in for sharp criticism from experts, who argue that a new, more responsive process is required to enable the country to adapt to changing circumstances, including changes to the demand trajectory.

University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business professor, Anton Eberhard, who is also a member of the National Planning Commission, is a particularly strong advocate of reform. But he found broad-ranging support from various other energy specialists attending the Fossil Fuel Foundation’s South Africa’s Electricity Supply Conference on Tuesday.

Dames said it was still far from certain as to which new generations would be added thereafter, indicating that a third new coal-fired power station could not be discounted, nor could a smaller nuclear roll-out than the 9 600 MW fleet proposal included in the current version of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). He also argued that the introduction of gas could be a “game changer” and agreed that gas was under represented in the current plan.

Eberhard argued it was “potentially disastrous” for the economy to rely on outdated data and on plans that rely heavily on large, capital-intensive multi-year investment programmes, particularly in a context of uncertainty around future demand and costs.

The IRP, he argued, provided a “useful base”, but a more dynamic planning system was required to ensure that the plan is “continually updated”, adding that the current version, which covers the period from 2010 to 2030, was “now questionable”.  Read the rest on Engineering News