DA requests deadline extension for comments on draft IRP 2023

Issued by Kevin Mileham MP – DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
19 Jan 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find the attached soundbite by Kevin Mileham MP

The office of the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, has acknowledged receipt of a request submitted by the DA on Wednesday in which we are calling for an extension of the public comments deadline for the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2023, from the current cutoff date of 23 February 2024 to 30 April 2024.

Our request follows representations made to the DA by stakeholders across the country in which they expressed concern that the current deadline does not afford them enough time to properly interrogate the underlying assumptions and projections made in the IRP 2023, and to make substantive comments based on the evaluation thereof.

It is the DA’s considered view that the public comments deadline for the IRP 2023 should be extended in order to enable exhaustive input on what is essentially the energy policy that seeks to shape South Africa’s electricity supply landscape for the foreseeable future. The release of the IRP 2023 was inexplicably delayed and as such, the least that Mantashe could do is give South Africans adequate time to make their voices heard.

The DA remains deeply concerned about the draft IRP 2023 in its current form due to its lack of ambition, reluctance to move away from fossil fuels and assumptions that are not reflective of South Africa’s current energy realities. Instead of taking a more pro-active approach towards a renewable energy future, the draft IRP 2023 has taken South Africa several steps back and increased the risk of a perpetual energy crisis in the country.

Perhaps the most glaring flaw to IRP 2023 is the limited procurement of renewable energy while delaying the shutdown of coal fired power plants and proposing the adoption of clean coal technologies. This fossil-centric approach risks alienating global partners and the multi-billion rand in pledged investments towards South Africa’s just energy transition. Disillusion could further extend to the private sector where investors may choose not to participate in the energy sector due to an obvious lack of interest by the government in meeting its emission control commitments and expanding the roll-out of renewable energy generation.

The DA is working on its own submissions on the draft IRP 2023 and we will use the opportunity to highlight the grave inconsistencies that currently define the current versiont, from a high Energy Availability Factor by 2030 that is not matched by improvements in generation capacity to claims of lowering energy costs while proposing procurement from expensive sources such as nuclear and gas.

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