The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) is calling on the government to finalize the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in order to create the confidence required to attract investment into the country’s renewable energy sector, specifically the wind energy sector.
The draft IRP, which maps out South Africa’s energy strategy until 2030, was originally released in August 2018 for public comment and has since missed several conclusion deadlines, following a March update.
The IRP outlines coal-fired energy supplying 46% of South Africa’s energy, with further decommissioning of coal generation up until 2050. The supply of power met by solar, hydropower and wind sources are set to increase as a proportion of the country’s total energy generation capacity.
A statement released by SAWEA said that the policy uncertainty the sector is currently facing, directly results in international investors looking to other markets to invest.
According to Ben Brimble, Head of SAWEA’s policy and markets working group, “Pressure for the release of the IRP is mounting across all energy technologies. This is perfectly understandable as this Plan provides a clear technology investment roadmap, which is essential to investor certainty, over a multi-decade time horizon.”
Brimble added that if the country is unable to provide clear policy, it will continue to lose out on investment opportunities.
“The country’s economy is not at a stage where it can continue to wait for this critical investment roadmap,” the SAWEA said.
In addition to attracting investment into the sector, the finalization of the IRP will also create opportunities for job creation and allow the IPP office to proceed with Bid Window 5 which has been delayed as a result of the IRP not being finalized.