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IRP deadline extension an opportunity for more renewables ambition in line with SoNA vision - SAWEA

SAWEA CEO Niveshen Govender

SAWEA CEO Niveshen Govender

12th February 2024

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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The recent extension of the deadline for responses to the draft Integrated Resource Plan 2023 (IRP 2023) presents an opportunity to incorporate the vision presented by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) for more renewable energy, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) asserts.

Minerals Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe announced a month-long extension to the public comment period to March 23 in a recent speech to the Mining Indaba but without committing to public hearings.

There is significant concern about the technology cost assumptions used by the drafters of the document, as well as the material increase in the allocation for gas-to-power for the short-term horizon to 2030 and the substantial decrease in the allocation for wind over the same period.

SAWEA CEO Niveshen Govender argues that the extension to the comment period offers the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy an opportunity to incorporate the President’s vision for more renewable energy, which will create a “more robust, aggressive and inspiring IRP 2023 that prioritises a secure supply of electricity”.

While noting the resumption of public and private renewables procurement, Govender still called for urgent and immediate practical implementation of renewable energy, including through investment in the grid.

“The industry is ready to do more, but local market conditions led by grid constraints continue to present challenges for the progression of projects.

“More needs to be done and it needs to be done quickly,” he said, while calling for greater clarity on the plans for 14 000 km of new transmission lines.

“We need confirmation of timelines for the project, as well as insight into what role SAWEA can play in supporting this initiative.”

While noting plans to enable private investment to fast-track transmission projects, Govender argued that greater effort should be made to ensure that Just Energy Transition Implementation Plan funds were directed towards grid infrastructure.

“As a country, we cannot afford to wait.

“In this respect, while the transmission lines are being built, we also need a commitment to interim measures that will be put into place – in addition to Eskom’s new curtailment addendum for grid allocation – to support the connection of new generation capacity.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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