In addition to its letter of demand, the organisation has published and sent an accompanying position document titled; “Obscure Electricity Planning is Detrimental to South Africa,” detailing its rationale on this matter.
An annually updated IRP is a legal requirement under the National Energy Act no. 34 of 2008. Since the act came into effect, the Department of Energy only published two versions of the IRP, one dated 2010 and a second dated 2013, but which was not signed off by the minister of energy, leaving the IRP2010 document as the legally viable option for planning electricity use.
“As civil society, we would like to remind the minister that an updated IRP should be based on current demand trends feeding into forecast models, as well as the including of updated pricing of all available energy technology options,” says Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s chairman.
Earlier this month, energy experts from the CSIR, Dr. Tobias Bischof-Niemz, Jarrad Wright, Joanne Calitz and Crescent Mushwana, published their findings of what an updated IRP might suggest as the best outcomes for South Africa’s energy mix going forward. The findings of the CSIR Study was a strong argument to negate the introduction of new nuclear or coal energy plants for South Africa’s future energy needs.
“We are concerned that the South African government appears to be hell-bent on forcing a new nuclear energy build program down the nation’s throat in the absence of an updated and credible IRP,” says Duvenage. “Until a credible base case and transparent IRP is in place, OUTA believe the Governing authorities are acting unconstitutionally and not in the best interests of the nation, if they continue to pursue the development of new nuclear and coal projects.”
The minister of energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, announced in October that an updated IRP will be presented to cabinet by mid-October. This has not been done yet.