Radebe insists IRP to be approved soon, amid Nedlac uncertainty

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has reiterated that Cabinet could soon approve the long-awaited update to South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity, despite persistent suggestions that National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) sign-off of the document is still months away.

Speaking at a briefing in Pretoria on Friday, following a meeting with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Khalid Al-Falih, Radebe indicated that consultations had been finalised with both Parliament and Nedlac. “As you will recall, in August of 2018, we released a draft IRP, which many South Africans have commented on. We are now finalising all those comments in order to go to Cabinet,” Radebe said.“The issue of Nedlac. We did consult with Nedlac last year in terms of the IRP, so we are now at a stage where we are about to approve this IRP.”Earlier, Reuters reported Radebe as saying the document would be finalised in February.Such an outcome would not be feasible, however, should the IRP be subjected to Nedlac’s normal processes for approving policy or legislation.

It is understood that there is an expectation among the labour and business constituents within Nedlac that the IRP will be subjected to further consultation, a process that could endure for months.It is also believed that such consultations would be pursued only once the Department of Energy has redrafted the document to incorporate comments made during the 60-day public participation phase. No such redraft has been presented to Nedlac.Meanwhile, Radebe told his Saudi counterpart that energy and electricity remained core to South Africa’s plan to attract $100-billion-worth of new investment into South Africa over the coming five years, having indicated previously that he expected energy related investment to contribute at least $25-billion to that target.Al-Falih highlighted the role that Saudia Arabia’s ACWA Power had already played in South Africa Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which he described as a “best in class” renewables framework globally.

ACWA Power, he added, would continue to pursue renewables opportunities in South Africa, along with coal and gas-to-power projects.

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