Renewables predicted to grab bigger share of South Africa energy mix

South Africa is set for a dramatic shift in its energy mix in the coming years thanks to the government’s decision to restructure its energy output.

That’s the verdict of analysts at consultancy GlobalData, who predict that the share of South Africa’s non-hydro renewables generation will increase the 8.1 per cent recorded last year to 30.3 per cent in 2030.

The company’s latest report in South Africa’s power market reveals that currently some 74.7 per cent of ther country’s installed capacity comes from coal.Renewables predicted to grab bigger share of South Africa energy mix

GlobalData analyst Chiradeep Chatterjee says South Africa’s new Integrated Resource Plan 2018 has called for increasing the share of renewables and gas power in order to move away from coal and nuclear, but he warns “this will not be easy to achieve”.

He adds: “This will partly happen organically as Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned electricity generating company, has reported that 75 per cent of the country’s coal based power plants will near their life by 2040, with the government confirming plans to retire and replace these facilities with new gas-fired capacity.

The government has also scrapped an earlier proposal to increase installed nuclear capacity, and is now calling for increasing the capacity share of wind and solar power instead.”

Chatterjee said ”non-hydro renewables including biopower, are therefore expected to contribute approximately 30 per cent of the country’s installed capacity and around 20 per cent of its annual power generation by 2030″.

Global Data’s report observes that South Africa has been following an Integrated Resource Plan since 2011, now superseded by the new 2018 version. One of the assumptions from the Resource Plan was that electricity consumption would continue to increase, yet consumption has declined over the years, mainly due to increases in electricity prices and slow economic growth.

Chatterjee noted that development of the non-hydro renewable power sector had “stalled since 2015/2016, when corruption allegations rocked the previous South Africa administration. As the country does not have adequate gas reserves of its own, it is proposing to source from neighbouring Mozambique and other members of theà‚  Southern African Development Community.

He added: “South Africa cannot increase its hydropower capacity due to deficient rainfall and the occurrence of regular droughts. It also does not want to increase its nuclear generation capacity, so it will have to depend on non-hydro renewables such as solar power, wind and biopower to augment capacity in the future.”

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