The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that was announced yesterday by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, is a significant step in the right direction. The energy mix recommended by the plan indicates a substantial increase in the use if wind, solar and hydro power.
This is the first time that Mr Mantashe referred to industrialisation that can be accomplished outside of the power grid by making use of renewable power installations. In addition, it seems that the potential of these resources to help stabilise the power grid itself is now also being recognised.
The FF Plus has been advocating for an energy policy of this kind for years now. Agriculture can be stabilised during disaster-drought years while industrial development will not be adversely affected by load shedding.
Furthermore, it can relieve the pressure on urban infrastructure as very rural areas can enter the modern economy by generating their power locally.
While South Africa does have a world-class power grid, the country's ability to generate power has become outdated, inflexible and, thus, extremely vulnerable. The mismanagement at Eskom also does not help the situation. From now on, citizens themselves will be able to make a contribution to help rectify the problem.
Another positive development is that large-scale storage capacity is also a prospect. It can balance out South Africa's uneven distribution of wind and sun.
While it is necessary to move away from fossil fuels, it cannot happen overnight. Therefore, this plan is certainly a step in the right direction and exactly what the FF Plus has been advocating for.
The party hopes that administrative red tape and mismanagement will not ruin this promising prospect.
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