During the second day of public hearings on the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) on Tuesday, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) said that the IRP needed to consider plans based on lower energy demand, as well as embattled state-owned utility Eskom’s ability to meet the country’s energy needs.
The group further warned that it was unrealistic to plan for South Africa’s future energy needs based on a high annual growth in GDP when the economy was not performing. The Energy Intensive Users Group of Southern Africa (EIUGSA) pointed out that lower GDP growth meant the costs of bringing new energy supply online would be higher.
The group further noted that the draft IRP’s use of a medium plant performance forecast for Eskom was unrealistic and should be changed to reflect a lower plant performance, to reflect the current reality. “The IRP should rather assume lower GDP forecast and the lower electricity demand forecast in terms of the modelling, or at least include a scenario that shows this outcome,” Jarredine Morris of Busa said.
The IRP maps out the country’s future energy needs up until 2030, with a mix of coal, gas, wind, solar and hydropower. Both Busa and the EIUGSA feel the IRP should be reviewed every two years.