Comment on Integrated Resource Plan 2023 extended

08 Feb 2024

The comment period for the Draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2023) has been extended.

The mineral resources and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe, announced this during an address at the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

The Draft IRP 2023 was published in Government Gazette 49974 at the beginning of January 2024 for comment.

Cabinet gave the green light to the Draft IRP 2023 in December 2023.

According to the cabinet statement, the Draft IRP 2023 reviews the approved IRP 2019 and covers two-time horizons, namely the 2030 and 2050 time horizons.

“Several key assumptions used in the IRP 2019 have significantly changed, including the electricity demand projection, Eskom’s energy availability factor, Eskom’s coal fired power plants shutdown plan, as well as the cost of new power generation technologies.”

The draft reviewed IRP focuses on, inter alia, IRP review methodology; factors considered in the IRP review; input assumption parameters; analysis of horizon one (period 2023 to 2030); and analysis of horizon two (period 2031 – 2050).

According to the department, the IRP is a “living plan that is expected to be regularly reviewed as necessitated by changing circumstances”.

The IRP is designed to “ensure security of electricity supply necessary by balancing supply with demand, while considering the environment and total cost of supply”.

The Draft IRP 2023 emphasises that South Africa continues to pursue a diversified energy mix to facilitate security of supply while ensuring compliance with its emission reduction plan.

South Africa’s approach to energy security is in line with international trends and developments.

Factors considered in the IRP Review include Eskom plant performance; Eskom plants shutdown plan; Eskom new build challenges; Koeberg long-term operation plan; compliance with minimum emission standards; timing and rollout of new capacity; and development of the transmission grid.

In the conclusion, the department points out that the IRP Review “presents an analysis of broad options at the disposal of the country with the ultimate view to meet three distinct but not mutually exclusive aspirations, namely, security of supply, energy affordability and carbon emissions reduction”.

The department adds that analysis of the period between now and 2030 highlights a “concerning electricity supply and demand deficit”.

“While ongoing additional generation capacity initiatives are expected to alleviate unserved energy, they do not fully address the underlying system adequacy.”

According to the department, final policy decisions must be taken on the basis of a “long term decarbonisation trajectory while improving South Africa’s competitiveness, growing the economy through an industrial renaissance as outlined in the NDP”.

Comments are now invited until 23 March 2024.

In his address, the minister also referred to the procurement of a service provider for the “design, implementation, and maintenance of a mining licensing system to enhance efficiency and transparency in the application, granting, and management of prospecting, and mining rights permits”.

The department recently announced that PMG Consortium has been identified as the recommended bidder to provide the mining licensing system commonly referred to as the Cadastre.

The process to appoint a service provider for the design, implementation, maintenance, and support of the mining licensing system was concluded in tandem with the State Information Technology Agency.

According to the department, PGM Consortium is a conglomeration of three companies, namely, Pacific GeoTech Systems, MITS Institute and Gemini GIS and Environmental Services.

The minister added that the department is “optimistic that the PMG Consortium will deliver the required system that will assist in the operation of a modern and effective mining rights administration system”.

The department has been directed to ensure that the migration to the new system is completed within 12 months to guarantee regulatory certainty.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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