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SOUTH AFRICA'S INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN 2050

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SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT - 11 March 2022 - NATIONAL INFRASTRCTURE PLAN 2050 (NIP 2050) PHASE I

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Energy infrastructure

Energy supply will enable economic growth and development. The energy mix will be bolder on sustainability and in achieving least cost. This will require reduced reliance on coal and growing reliance on renewable energy, especially solar and wind, which play a dominant role as part of a least-cost energy mix and where South Africa has a significant advantage. 

By 2050, energy demand is projected to double. Installed generation capacity will therefore need to expand, from 53 GW in 2018 to between 133 GW and 174 GW by 2050, depending on energy demand at that time. By 2030, at least 25 GW will have to be added to installed capacity with the requisite supportive transmission and distribution network infrastructure.

To achieve this vision for energy infrastructure, the NIP 2050 says that:

• the approach to defining the energy mix will become technically strong and responsive. Expanded capacity in a context of accelerated technological change and a changing energy mix requires that the institutional planning and delivery mechanisms become more adaptive, responsive and dynamic, as well as guided by evidence. The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) will be revised to extend to 2050, and medium-term targets will be updated in 2021/2 to reflect a focus on sustainability and least cost. The IEP will be finalised.

• the market structure will facilitate more responsive and sustainable supply. This will require stabilisation and separation of Eskom, the introduction of greater private participation and more decentralisation in energy generation. 

• capacity in the state and its entities will be strengthened to effectively regulate, plan and oversee energy delivery. 

• electricity will be delivered in a financially sustainable way. 

• energy efficiency policies and measures will be given high priority. 

• the transition away from fossil fuels will progress in a measurable, just and sustained manner. New installed capacity consists primarily of wind and solar, where South Africa has a comparative and competitive advantage. Stakeholders, whether business, workers or communities, involved in fossil fuels will be supported through this transition. 

• industrial diversification will be promoted through energy infrastructure delivery. 

• a centralised database will be maintained, with the requisite confidentiality protection, for the reporting of existing and expected generation capacity investments by market players to enable informed power system planning and investments for all stakeholders.

• Research infrastructure for using nuclear technology will be sustained through the replacement of SAFARI-1 research reactor with a Multi-Purpose Reactor (MPR) by 2030.

• Effective management of waste emanating from energy generation to support environmental sustainability. 

The SIPs will be augmented and 3-year priority actions to 2023/4 are outlined. For example, the independent transmission entity will be established and the 100 MW embedded generation will be regulated in 2021/2. At least 10 municipalities that deliver to large populations will be given support and/or have their capacity developed to adequately maintain distribution systems. A plan to reduce reliance on coal, including elements of a just transition, will be finalised in 2021/2, with implementation starting in 2022/3. The specifics on energy procurement are as follows: regularised prescheduled bi-annual bid windows procuring about 5GW of renewable power annually from independent power producers (IPPs), municipalities enabled to procure power from IPPs, acceleration of transmission and distribution infrastructure investment, and up to 1 000 MW battery storage procured by 2023/4.

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