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2. The IRP in Context


This IRP is developed within a context characterized by very fast changes in energy technologies, and uncertainty with regard to the impact of the technological changes on the future energy provision system. As we plan for the next decade, this technological uncertainty is expected to continue and this calls for caution as we make assumptions and commitment for the future in a rapidly changing environment. Accordingly, long range commitments are to be avoided as much as possible, to eliminate the risk that they might prove costly and ill-advised.


At the same time there is recognition that some of the technology options will require some level of long-range decisions due to long lead times. The IRP attempt to harmonize this dichotomy, especially with regard to nuclear, gas and energy storage technologies, which technologies require more consideration of future developments.


The South African power system consists of the generation options, which are 38 GW installed capacity from coal, 1.8 GW from nuclear, 2.7 GW from pumped storage, 1.7 GW from hydro, 3.8 GW from diesel and 3.7 GW from renewable energy. The electricity generated is transmitted through a network of high-voltage transmission lines that connect the load centres and Eskom and municipalities distribute the electricity to various end users. Eskom also supply a number of international customers, including electricity utilities, in the SADC region.


Energy security in the context of this IRP is defined as South Africa developing adequate generation capacity to meet its demand for electricity, under both the current low-growth economic environment and even when the economy turns and improves to the level of 4% growth per annum. Generation capacity must accordingly be paced to restore the necessary reserve margin and to be ahead of the economic growth curve at least possible cost.


2.1 The Energy Mix

2.2 Environmental Considerations

2.3 Plant Retirements due to End-of-Life

2.4 Electricity Tariffs

2.5 Water Energy Nexus

2.6 Role of Eskom

2.7 Municipalities and related issues

2.8 Investment Trends in the Power Sector

2.9 Regional Integration

2.10 Research and Development