Analysis of Energy Mix Scenarios for South African Power Sector, 2016
When creating an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for any nation, there are several ways to fill in the supply gap. It could be new builds composed entirely of gas with complementary cogeneration or coal complemented with renewable energy. Up until November 2016, the South African 2010 IRP was the only official document on power objectives. This is often cited in various ways, although it is widely known to be incorrect. As such, decision makers, research, and conferences continually make use of this outdated document. Evidence of its inaccuracy lies in the expected Growth Domestic Product growth rate expected by 2016; the IRP 2010 predicted between 3% to 6% growth in GDP. At this rate, the demand for power predicted in the document is 21% less than what South Africa currently demands according to actual data. A forecast of the power supply is done in conjunction with the demand. This requires updated information such as economic growth, industry sector, population growth, and so on. As the South African economy has seen a slowdown since 2011, the requirement for power has fallen which was not taken into consideration.
A hardcopy document may not be beneficial if it is not updated regularly. Instead, a central, interactive, and up-to-date database will be a more valuable asset to investors, academics, and other players in the private and public sectors.
This research service takes a look at the IRP 2010 and runs various high-level scenarios on combinations of power generation and the initial goal to achieve synchronisation of this generation by 2030. These combinations were chosen based on a lower power demand projection currently seen in the power forecasts rather than the entire range of suggestions. One such scenario takes a look at the power generated should the ambition of the IRP 2010 come to fruition. While the government aimed to produce 89,532 MW of power in 2030, the actual production only reaches 66,841 MW – this is 25% less than the original plan. An updated IRP is vital to understand the energy landscape, but while the public waits for the document, data modelling can be done in the meantime. This reports attempts to do that on a high level.
The base year for the study is 2016, with the forecast period being 2017-2060.
Important note: As the latest IRP for 2016 will only be signed off by the South African Cabinet in Q2/Q3 of 2017, this report does not refer to this unofficial update. Furthermore, although it is vital to consider levelised cost of energy when comparing technologies, this report does not deal with the cost side of energy planning.
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