Business South Africa wants more time to review energy plan

Pretoria - Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) on Monday welcomed the release of government's draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2010), but asked for more time to analyse it.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Energy released IRP 2010, the country's electricity master plan, for public comment on Friday.

Spokesperson Masego Lehihi said BUSA believed that stakeholders should be afforded 60 days instead of 30 to comment on the plan.

"BUSA hopes that the full document will be released soon, as business remains committed to constructive engagement with government and other stakeholders to help arrive at the best decisions on SA's energy future," said Lehihi.

The IRP is the country's 20-year electricity plan, aiming to show South Africa's future electricity demand, how the demand can be met and at what cost.

Rolling blackouts are anticipated from 2011 to 2016, unless extraordinary steps are taken to accelerate the realisation of the non-Eskom generation and energy-efficiency projects.

The IMC looked at various scenarios, which include a case where only the direct costs of each technology are considered. They also mulled the cancellation of the Kusile power station.

"BUSA has frequently expressed its view that a socio-economic impact assessment of the final plan should be undertaken and notes with appreciation the fact that such an economic evaluations are being done," said the body.

The release of the medium term mitigation strategy, where consultation will also be necessary, was also welcomed by BUSA.

"BUSA has also often emphasized the need for the energy plan to include an implementation strategy which clearly assigns responsibility and funding to the various role-players.

"In order to begin to meet the targets of alternative sources of electricity, the policy environment for independent power producers needs to be finalised urgently." - BuaNews