Friday, 01 April 2022

Cape Town: There are currently no plans to discontinue the use of coal as part of the country’s energy mix, says Deputy President David Mabuza.

The Deputy President said this when he responded to oral questions in the National Assembly on Thursday.

He said the country’s energy generation is guided by the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019, which provides for the use of all energy resources available, including, among others, coal, gas and renewable energy sources.

“Currently, there are no plans for the discontinuation of the use of coal as 99% of South Africa’s electricity supply is derived from coal and 30% of liquid fuels are derived from the same commodity.

“Coal remains one of our largest natural endowments that will continue to form part of our energy mix in terms of the IRP 2019,” he said.

He said, however, that despite this, the country is committed to forging a low-carbon growth path that prioritises environmental sustainability.

“We need to ensure that we deploy new infrastructure, technologies and solutions that enable us to adhere to ambient air quality standards, and protect the lives of communities from negative environmental externalities.

“Going forward, the IRP 2019 proposes the use of high efficiency, low emissions coal technologies. Government is currently working on other measures such as the Gas Utilisation Master Plan and the Renewable Energy Master Plan.”

The Deputy President said government is exploring the development of the Nuclear Procurement Framework as proposed in the IRP 2019.

He said these are part of the medium to long-term plans in ensuring security of energy supply.

“Having said that, it is important to point out that, out of the entire fleet, there are planned optimised plant shutdowns that is aligned with the Integrated Resource Plan, to balance capacity, environmental, social and economic considerations.

“This is inevitable because, in the main, these plants are approaching the end of their lifespan, and have become uneconomical, unpredictable and costly to run.

“Nine coal-fired power stations will be shut down by 2035, thereby impacting significantly on the reduction of generation capacity,” he said.

SA strikes deal to buy gas from Mozambique

Deputy President David Mabuza says government has reached an agreement with Maputo that will see South Africa getting a supply of gas from Mozambique.

“Discussions between our Minister here of Mineral Resources [and Energy] and Mozambique are quite advanced in terms of gas that we should transport from Mozambique to the country.

“I can safely say that we have reached an agreement,” he said on Thursday.

Responding to questions from Members of Parliament (MPs), the Deputy President said alternative energy generation measures are being explored and implemented to augment electricity supply and improve the stability of the grid.

Deputy President Mabuza also said the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has amended the Electricity Regulations of New Generation Capacity. The department has also put together processes to be followed to ensure requests by municipalities for own generation are speedily attended to.

He told MPs that currently, 292 small-scale generators have registered with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) and have generation capacity of 187MW.

“The Independent Power Producers Office is processing offers by independent power producers for approval by Eskom and National Treasury.”

He said the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy has issued determinations on the required new generation capacity, in concurrence with the NERSA.

“The Determinations made, resulted in the procurement of more than 7 309 MW from renewable and non-renewable energy.

“Most of these power plants are already in operation, with less than 400MW still under construction.” he said.