South Africa’s Ambitious Strategy to End Load Shedding by 2050


Strategic Vision: A Diverse Energy Mix

  • The Draft Integrated Resource Plan 2023: The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy unveils a comprehensive plan to resolve the nation’s energy crisis, aiming to construct over 100 gigawatts of new generation capacity by 2050.
  • Diverse Energy Sources: The plan highlights a variety of technologies, including solar, wind, nuclear, and coal, to stabilize South Africa’s erratic electricity supply.

Economic Impact and Proposed Solutions

  • Economic Challenges: Persistent blackouts have severely affected South Africa’s economy.
  • Least Cost vs. High Capacity Scenarios: The IRP 2023 outlines scenarios ranging from a “least cost” 105-gigawatt plan to a high-capacity 166-gigawatt strategy focusing on wind, solar, gas, and battery storage.

Technology and Capacity Expansion

  • Renewable and Clean Energy: While renewable sources are key for decarbonization, they require high implementation costs and do not guarantee supply security.
  • Projected Additions by 2030:
    • Wind Projects: 4,468 MW
    • Solar Plants: 3,715 MW
    • Gas Plants: 7,220 MW
    • Battery Storage: 4,103 MW
    • Self-Generation: Approx. 6,000 MW

Long-term Infrastructure and Goals

  • Massive New Build Program: Beyond 2030, the focus shifts to extensive infrastructure development, including transmission networks.
  • Energy Path Focus: The chosen path aims to balance supply security, emissions reduction, and economic feasibility.

Key Aspects of the Plan

  • Continued Role of Coal: Given abundant coal resources, investment in efficient and cleaner coal technologies is deemed necessary.
  • Expansion of Nuclear Power: Recognizing nuclear as a clean energy source, the government plans to expand atomic programs, including deploying small modular reactors.
  • Gas as a Flexible Complement: Gas technologies will supplement renewable energy, with initial emphasis on importing gas while exploring local sources.
  • Rapid Growth in Solar and Wind: These technologies are pivotal for diversifying the energy mix.
Also Read:   Rising from the Blackouts: Load Shedding Paves the Way for South Africa's Energy Renaissance

Delaying Coal Power Station Shutdowns

  • Strategic Delays: The plan advocates for postponing the closure of key coal stations to maintain energy availability.
  • Key Stations’ Impact: Delaying the shutdown of five stations post-2035 could retain over 8,000MW by 2050.
  • Tutuka Power Station: Delaying its 2030 closure could save over 3,500MW, thus maintaining higher capacity while transitioning to new energy sources.