Parliament wants both nuclear and coal in future energy mix
Parliament’s portfolio committee on energy finalises proposals on resource plan
Parliament’s portfolio committee on energy on Tuesday finalised its recommendations on government’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), resolving that government should make it clear that both coal and nuclear energy will remain part of SA’s future energy mix.
The IRP is government’s long-term energy plan, which models the expected demand for energy and best-cost scenario on how to supply that energy.
The latest IRP, which was published for comment by energy minister Jeff Radebe in September, models supply and demand only up to 2030.
It does not allow for any new nuclear energy, but assumes 1000MW of new coal plants, which are to be built by independent power producers (IPPs). The plan assumes that Eskom’s existing coal fleet will remain in commission for the duration of its full 30-year life.
The committee’s report says: “The IRP should make it explicit that both coal and nuclear will remain important elements of SA's energy mix. In the case of coal, new clean coal technologies should be pursued.”
While environmental lobby groups and renewable-energy producers are lobbying hard to stop the coal IPPs and for Eskom to retire its fleet early, groups within the ANC and trade union movement are lobbying for coal and nuclear energy to remain central to SA’s future.
Among the committee’s other recommendations are that the department of energy should conduct a socioeconomic impact study of the various energy-mix scenarios. The government should also hold a national dialogue on a “Just Energy Transition” before the end of the financial year.
“This should particularly focus on communities that are going to be affected by the transition from the use of fossil fuels,” it says.
The committee also recommends that the minister of energy convene an energy summit to map out the energy future for SA comprehensively.