Calls for the release of an updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) are mounting, as it provides a clear technology roadmap that is essential to confirming investor certainty to 2050, says the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA).
Such certainty, SAWEA added, is particularly important for growing job-creation prospects in South Africa’s renewable-energy manufacturing sector.
Given the country’s enormous socioeconomic challenges, SAWEA notes that the IRP should be based on a cost-optimal build and technology mix in support of socioeconomic development and environmental sustainability.
“As we have seen over the past two years in particular, where the lack of an updated IRP has been cited as one of the reasons for stalling renewable power procurement, job loss effects have been felt most directly in South Africa’s renewable manufacturing sector,” SAWEA CEO Brenda Martin laments.
She adds that the renewable-energy industry has started preparing for the resumption of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, following the signing, last month, of outstanding power purchase agreements for 27 independent renewable power producer projects.
“South Africa is at a key stage of the national energy transition, it has plentiful wind and solar power resources to strengthen the country’s power mix, along with clear evidence that renewable power costs are competitive with that of new coal,” she added.
She further explained that the country is also behind on achieving its climate change commitments and is in the midst of a major water crisis in several provinces.
“A well-timed public consultation process that results in a clear investment roadmap for South Africa before the end of this year will go a long way to boost both public and investor confidence at this time,” Martin states.