A better energy plan is possible
By Glen Tyler

Today is the last day for South Africans to submit comments on the countries latest energy plan. The draft Integrated Resource Plan or 2018 IRP is the country’s energy road map until 2030.

The plan is being decided on in the context of a recent climate change report from the global authority on the subject. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that we have to act on climate change with even more urgency than we previously thought. My biggest take away from the report is that we need to reduce coal consumption by two-thirds by 2030 – an auspicious date in the context of our energy plan.

For a country where nearly 90% of our electricity is generated from coal, this is a serious challenge – we will have to decrease our dependency on the black stuff dramatically. It is completely crazy therefore that the IRP includes provision for two new coal-fired power plants. The reasons to protest this addition are many – cleaner air, healthier people, less water use, less expensive electricity – and that’s before we even talk about the impacts of climate change.

There is a lot of good in the IRP – it is based on evidence as opposed to interests; renewable energy increases its share of total generation by 2030; and our coal consumption would decrease. Unfortunately the reality of climate change is such that we have to be more ambitious. We need to move faster. We can’t afford to build new coal plants.

The good news is there are multiple benefits for doing so.

You can read our full comments on the IRP here.

If you haven’t already, please consider submitting comments on the IRP. You can do so by emailing the Director-General of the Department of Energy, for the attention of Mr Tshepo Madingoane at irp.queries@energy.gov.za. Include your name and contact details when you do so!