Just after publishing the wrong version of the Integrated Resource Plan, and with Eskom being forced to admit that more than a third of its infrastructure is broken and cannot be relied on to generate electricity on demand, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe denied South Africa has an energy crisis.
‘We have no energy crisis, South Africa has an energy problem that will turn into a disaster if not attended,’ said the minister on the sidelines of the media briefing to announce the IRP.
The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) seems to be an acknowledgement by the government that it does not have the required skills capacity and the balance sheet to continue investing in the electricity-generating infrastructure of any significance.
Thus it has designed a plan that heavily relies on the simplicity, cost-effectiveness and speed of the private sector to fill the gap. And quickly, by government standards anyway. These seem to be the driving priorities that will inform South Africa’s energy investment plan for the next 20 years.
The integrated resource plan of 2019, unveiled by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, shifts focus away from the heavy, complex and expensive baseload infrastructure projects this country.