The South African authorities are planning to make less coal, a lot of wind and a significant amount of solar energy. In the new energy plan presented on October 18, 2019, the government plans to produce 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind energy by 2030.
South Africa will “green” its energy mix. The government has recently approved the Integrated Resource Plan, a 10-year energy policy, which provides for additional electricity production of 27.4 gigawatts (GW) in which the share of renewable energy (solar and wind) amounts to 20 GW.
The new energy plan presented on the 18th of October 2019 by the South African Department of Energy (DOE) gives the lion’s share to wind energy. During the implementation period of this plan (2020-2030), the wind farms located will have to generate an additional 14.4 GW, an annual increase of 1.5 GW. As a result, wind capacity is expected to increase from around 1.98 GW currently to 17.7 GW by the end of the decade, representing 22.5% of South Africa’s energy mix.
The second part of the “greening” of South Africa’s energy mix is based on solar energy. The DOE intends to develop an additional 6 GW of solar capacity by 2030. If these expectations are met, South Africa would then have 8.28 GW of photovoltaic solar energy on an industrial scale, which would represent 10.5% of its energy mix.
A green plan for the first polluter on the continent
However, South Africa’s energy policy for 2030 gives a central place to coal. The country, which is Africa’s largest polluter with 86% of electricity produced from coal-fired power plants, intends to develop a new coal production capacity of 1.5 GW by 2030. At this stage, coal will account for 43% of the electricity generation capacity.
Despite the resistance of coal in South African energy production, the new strategic energy plan, with its strong roots in renewable energies, will help to provide people with stable, cheaper and environmentally friendly electricity.
Chris Ahlfeldt, an energy specialist at Blue Horizon Energy Consulting Services, told PV magazine in February 2019 that renewable energy is the solution to multiple power cuts and growing electricity demand in South Africa. According to him, renewable energy sources (solar, wind and hydroelectric) provide a safer and cheaper solution to overcome the energy crisis.