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SA's draft future energy needs plan comes under scrutiny in Parliament

The EIUG’s Seeralan Chinaboo says lower actual GDP growth means the costs of bringing new energy supply online will be higher.

Picture: Eskom

CAPE TOWN - Business groupings are warning its unrealistic to plan for South Africa’s future energy needs based on a high annual growth in gross domestic product (GDP) when the economy is not performing.

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) and the Energy Intensive Users Group of Southern Africa (EIUGSA) are among a range of interested groups giving their input on the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in Parliament.

The plan maps out the country’s future energy needs up until 2030, with a mix of coal, gas, wind, solar and hydropower.

But the groups say the plan needs to spell out scenarios based on lower demand for energy, as well as Eskom’s ability to meet it.

The EIUG’s Seeralan Chinaboo says lower actual GDP growth means the costs of bringing new energy supply online will be higher.

“The choice of a high GDP growth scenario for the IRP-based case, it’s unrealistic in the short-term.”

Jarredine Morris of Busa agrees.

“The IRP should rather assume lower GDP forecast and the lower electricity demand forecast in terms of the modelling or at least include a scenario that shows this outcome.”

Both Busa and the intensive-users’ group say the IRP should be reviewed every two years.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)