South Africa Shuns Nuclear, Adds Renewables To Energy Plan

South Africa has dropped proposals to boost supply from nuclear plants in its latest energy plan and will increasingly use renewable sources as it lessens reliance on coal.

“There will be a study to determine if more nuclear is needed after 2030,” Energy Minister Jeff Radebe told reporters in Pretoria on Monday. “But until then, there is no increase in nuclear generation envisaged.”

The Integrated Resource Plan 2018 was released by Radebe on Monday. After 60 days for public comments, it will be sent to Cabinet for final sign-off. 

The long-awaited update of the country’s Integrated Resource Plan, the first in eight years, calls for the biggest increase in capacity from wind and natural gas. 

The long-awaited update of the country’s Integrated Resource Plan, the first in eight years, calls for the biggest increase in capacity from wind and natural gas

Former President Jacob Zuma, who left office in February, championed the building of as many as eight nuclear reactors, which would have the capacity to generate 9,600 megawatts of energy.

Wind and natural gas are now each projected to increase by 8,100 megawatts of capacity, while 5,670 megawatts will come from solar and 2,500 megawatts from hydropower, according to the plan. 

Coal, which currently makes up the bulk of the country’s energy source, will add 1,000 megawatts. The Department of Energy, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and state-owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. are tasked with carrying out the proposals.

While coal will decline to less than half of the country’s total installed capacity by 2030, it will still contribute more than 65 percent of energy production, according to the plan. Gas and wind power will account for more than 30 percent of capacity.

“There is significant change in the energy mix post 2030, which is mainly driven by decommissioning of old coal power plants that reach their end of life,” Radebe said. 

 

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