With State-owned power utility Eskom’s Medupi and Kusile power stations contributing about 10 GW jointly at full operation, global consulting firm KPMG believes the Department of Energy is proactively working towards reaching the National Development Plan’s (NDP’s) 2030 goal of having about 17 GW of new generating capacity to sustain socioeconomic activities in South Africa.
“The current state of the energy sector . . . is positive in that the generation plans are substantially defined and under way. All the renewable-energy programmes have five-and-a-half years of sustainability and it’s been lauded globally as one of the most successful procurement processes that’s ever been done and is still on the go,” says KPMG head of infrastructure De Buys Scott.
He notes that, in terms of the NDP, the country has all the possible sources of energy that were identified about six years ago as part of the integrated resource planning process. He adds that these plans are dynamic and have been checked as well as reworked to meet the needs of the country.
Scott further notes that nuclear energy is the only energy source over which there is uncertainty regarding its procurement.
“Nuclear is a very significant element of the NDP 2030 plan, but it will definitely not meet the 2030 deadline, owing to the fact that, on average, it takes 15 years or more to have a committed nuclear programme in operation.
Nuclear is a good long-term energy source because, once operational, it guarantees a substantially longer supply; it is also the most expensive source of energy to procure, he adds.
Further, he says that the balance of diverse energy sources will remain advantageous for the country, despite the expectation that nuclear energy will only be in full operation by 2040. Scott notes that there will definitely be a continuation of coal and gas programmes, which are strong contributors.
Although the country’s plans to provide electricity seem to be in place, its affordability for South Africans remains a problem.
“Being a developing country, factors such as inflation and funding for expansion decreasing are prevalent; the country is challenged with how and what it prioritises in terms of expenditure,” says Scott.
However, he notes that the issues that the energy sector is facing can be resolved, adding that projects such as Medupi can be regarded as contributors to the energy sector.
He says the first module of the Medupi project has been implemented and no other serious problems have been reported about the project; it could, therefore, be safe to assume that the next module, as well as Kusile, is well on schedule.
He reiterates that, with these projects’ positive contributions, the country should face a much better future in terms of energy generation and transmission.