An urgent rethink is needed for outdated power generation plans of South Africa

The economy of South Africa has taken a drastic fall recently. And the prominent reason for this occurrence is the spread of Covid-19 and the dysfunctionality in the state due to corruption. 

Since 1994, when South Africa was stated as a democratic country, this country faces several riots.

Due to the shaken economy, whereas many investors have lost their confidence. 

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa, and Tito Mboweni, the finance minister of South Africa, are managing to stabilize the hardships due to the pandemic. Mostly violence and arsons. 

However, they both have to work on the economic plans and the budgets for the future contrast. 

For the economic progress of South Africa, the electricity demand projection is necessary. 

If the government changes the economy, there will be a proportional impact on the energy sector. 

The planning of energy

The Integrated Resource Plan manages South Africa’s energy policy.

A panel of experts prepared a document and shortlisted the better evolution of the power generation landscape. And in every two years, there should be the formulation of these plans for sure. 

And the latest formulation of these plans happened in 2019. But since then, many developments are occurring in the sector. 

The first is based on technology—a significant enabler of wind and solar, of particular energy storage. 

The renewables of South Africa prepare the 10.5% of electricity generation. And this is essential for it to be increasing. And for that, it is a general recommendation to reduce the dependency on coal in the country. 

Although one of the massive obstacles is the cost of storage. Because whenever the sun or wind is not, there should be the proper storage of the batteries to supply the energy. 

Read more: Bangladesh coal reserve is running out!

The electricity demand will grow less than projected

For the development of the integrated resource plan, many assumptions were used, which are no longer valid. 

And the drop in electricity demand from the power utility Eskom is observed. And this drop has happened due to the slower economic activity, which is manifest due to Covid-19 lockdowns. 

Also, due to the increasing rates of electricity, there is a decline in demand. 

And as people are more inclined towards solar generation, this trend will be more likely to be seen. Mines are settling in the solar plants, and folks are keen to install more and more solars on their rooftops or in malls and factories. 

The government of South Africa is also being humble and providing those laws that will be environmentally friendly and helps the independent developers install their power plants that will exceed up to 100 megawatts. 

The gaps in interim 

Due to aging infrastructure and an abnormally high number of breakdowns, the national power utility Eskom failed to provide a steady supply. 

And when demands exceeded the supply, there were periodic blackouts all the time. 

The Ministry of Mining and Energy launches an initiative that will solicit 2,000 MW of emergency power for alleviating the power shortages in the interim. 

However, these plans are not going on well. 

It was planned that emergency power programs would be operational by 2022. But clearly, it does not seem to be met. 

Next Move

For the formation of a new electricity plan, South Africa must have a detailed and thoroughly studied set of scenarios. 

This will help a lot to raise the various options. It also will help in much-delayed units in the Kusile coal plant. And when they come online in the upcoming years, this will add up to 24000 MW. And this is corresponding to the overall 5% of the country’s electricity. 

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