Department of Mineral Resources and Energy
8 October 2019
The promulgation of the updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is imminent.
In a speech at the WINDABA Conference in Cape Town, the mineral resources and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe, added that the IRP “underscores South Africa’s continued commitment to invest in renewable energy as part of our energy mix”.
The minister emphasized that South Africa’s energy mix is aimed at improved energy security, the diversification of energy sources, increased access to modern energy carriers, improved energy efficiency, lowered cost of energy, regional integration and skills development.
As regards wind and other renewable energy technologies, the minister indicated that they offer potential for developing “energy-starved rural areas”.
“Isolated communities, where the deployment of grid infrastructure is difficult and costly, can be electrified. Grid security can also be improved simply by diversifying the generation points through smaller generators spread across the South African landscape.”
The minister also emphasized that government needed to ensure that a major component of wind allocation in the IRP is localized in the interests of transformation.
The role of energy storage technology in making wind energy a viable option going forward was highlighted.
“With our abundant platinum and other mineral resources – rare earth element; we must invest in research and development programmes based on hydrogen fuel cells, and battery storage, amongst others.”
The minister also called for South Africa’s coal deposits to be exploited via technological innovation.
“Carbon capture and storage, underground coal gasification and other clean coal technologies are critical considerations that will enable us to continue to use our coal resources in an environmentally responsible way.”