Nuclear Stations Comprise the Government’s New IRP

On the 17th October 2019, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy H.E. Gwede Mantashe informed the nation of the approved Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which outlines the country’s proposed energy mix until 2030.

The IRP was approved by Cabinet earlier this week. The anticipated 100-page plan is the state’s official paradigm for future energy generation and includes the projected electricity demand, cost estimates and the power sources from which energy will be generated.

In a statement that was issued on Thursday, Cabinet pointed out that the IRP would contain nine interpositions wherein the country will address energy needs in the next decade.
H.E. Gwede Mantashe communicated with the media on Friday morning that South Africa is not aiming for large nuclear units, but rather smaller, modular nuclear plants.

The Minister also stated that while coal’s installed capacity will be lower than the current installed base, it will remain the dominant energy supply source, contributing 59% of the energy volumes required to meet demand. Nuclear will contribute 5%; hydro will contribute 8%; photovoltaic to contribute 6%; wind to contribute 18%; gas and storage to comprise 2%.

Further details of the media brief included:

  • The government will immediately start a nuclear build program adding 2,500 MW of power.
  • Although the Koeberg nuclear power plant was intended to stop producing energy by 2024, it will be extended by an additional 20 years.
  • Renewables are resources that need to be improved through technology and investment.
  • Government will immediately start to buy power from private suppliers.

The IRP clarifies the evolving role of Eskom, as the company’s generation, transmission and distribution duties are disassociated.