In 2008 cabinet accepted that the use of coal as a power source would decline from 2030 onwards, and in 2011/12 the energy minister and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) determined that electricity generated from renewable energy sources – wind, concentrated solar power, solar photovoltaic, biogas and so on – could be procured through a tender process.

This led to Eskom signing power purchase agreements (PPAs) – with all but three of the independent power producers (IPPs) whose applications were successful – in 2018.

The government’s energy policy had in fact been developed over nearly two decades of extensive public participation and stakeholder involvement. While South Africa has large coal reserves and coal will remain the primary source of energy for the foreseeable future, it has negative consequences such as the emission of greenhouse gases, leading to an energy policy that “supports and promotes the development of renewable energy to achieve a more sustainable energy mix”. The Integrated Resource Plan 2010-2030 (IRP) was established to give effect to national policy within the framework of the government’s electricity policy framework, including the establishment and procurement of new generation capacity.

Continue reading