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Parly committee holds public hearings on plan outlining SA's energy needs

Some interest groups feel the country’s energy needs are being overstated and there are several issues that still need to be addressed.

FILE: Eskom's Kusile power station. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Energy’s draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) has so far been met with mixed reaction.

Parliament’s portfolio committee has on Tuesday started holding public hearings on the plan which outlines the country’s energy needs until 2030.

While several interest groups have welcomed the draft plan as an improvement over the last, some feel the country’s energy needs are being overstated and there are several issues that still need to be addressed.

Greenpeace says Eskom needs to decommission its old coal power stations and it’s unnecessary to add more coal-fired energy to the grid.

The IRP makes provision for two new independently run coal power stations.

Greenpeace’s Happy Khambule said: “There’s coal that can be removed and coal that is unnecessary, and that coal is unit 5 and 6 of Kusile, and the new IPPs.”

The University of Cape Town’s electrical engineering department believes the IRP’s projections of the country’s energy needs are unrealistic.

The department’s professor Charles Gaunt said: “It’s likely to lead to premature investment in the scheduled new generation without a market to use the energy.”

Project 90 by 2030 is warning of higher electricity costs if government pursues a hydropower agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)