Nuclear secrets revealed

BusinessDay, 30 November, 2016

MPs informed Department of Energy underplayed costs of SA’s nuclear programme

The Department of Energy underplayed what it had been told the nuclear programme would cost, consultants’ reports distributed to MPs on Tuesday have revealed.

The details of government planning regarding the nuclear new build programme, which has been championed by President Jacob Zuma, have been kept secret by the department despite several access to information applications by Business Day and other groups.

While not all the documents were made accessible in their entirety the contents are hardly spectacular and discuss hypothetical models and vague financing options.

The documents make nonsense of the argument used repeatedly by Department of Energy officials for the past three years that the reason they were kept secret was because they contained commercially sensitive information.

The department also intentionally underplayed the cost of nuclear energy, choosing a ballpark number in its public engagements that was lower than was estimated by consultancy Ingerop. The Ingerop study, compiled in 2013, looked at comparative prices of building nuclear plants based on information provided by vendors. The average capital cost was about $4,918/kWe. But in July 2015, Department of Energy deputy director-general Zizamele Mbambo put the estimated costs at R500bn, which at the time was $4,200/kWe.

Here is the full article.

Analysis: The Draft IRP2016 – lightweight, superficial and downright dangerous…

Energize, Chris Yelland, 29 November, 2016.

Electricity is the biggest energy carrier in South Africa. As such, an up-to-date national Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity is essential for the country’s overall economic and energy planning process for the provision of adequate electricity generation capacity to meet demand for the next 20 to 40 years.

While the lead-time for new generation capacity for some technologies can be a decade and more, ongoing, reliable and cost effective electricity is critical for the daily activities and well-being of mining, industrial, transportation, business, agricultural, municipal, commercial and domestic customers.

New electricity generation capacity must therefore be planned and provided at least cost, while meeting existing ministerial determinations and contractual commitments for any existing new-build, as well as government’s policy objectives.

These policy objectives include universal access to electricity, economic growth and jobs, environmental compliance and sustainability, and increasing the diversity of both primary energy sources and generators within the electricity supply industry in order to manage risk.

Background

Following a thoroughly discredited first attempt (IRP1) by the South African Department of Energy (DoE) in 2009, a respectable version of the national Integrated Resource Plan for electricity for the next 20 years – the so-called IRP2010-2030 – was promulgated by the DoE in March 2011, based on work done in 2009 and 2010.

This IRP should then have been updated annually (or at the very least, every two years) by the DoE, based on new economic data, revised technology costs, actual electricity demand growth in previous years, and a revised electricity demand forecast for the subsequent years ahead.

A Draft IRP2013 as an update to IRP2010-2030 was prepared and published in 2013 by the DoE, but for various reasons it was never accepted by the Cabinet or Government. It has been widely reported that this was because the Draft IRP2013 recommended a reduced and delayed nuclear new-build for South Africa.

Lightweight and superficial

Against this background, the latest update to IRP2010-2030, known now as the Draft IRP2016, has been awaited with great expectation, as well as concern at the repeated delays and extensions to the date of release of the Draft by the DoE for input and comment through a public participation process before promulgation.

However, after it was finally published for public comment in the Government Gazette on 25 November 2016, one of the first things that any informed reader would notice in perusing the Draft IRP2016 dated October 2016 in the Gazette is that it is both lightweight and superficial in comparison with the substantial IRP2010-2030 and Draft IRP2013 documents.

A number of the Appendices referred in Section 7 of the gazetted Draft IRP2016 dated October 2016 are missing, and contrary to what is stated on page 18, these are not readily available on the DoE website. The missing Appendices 7.3, 7.4 and 7.5 include: substantiation of the technology learning rates assumed; the presentation on the discount rate assumed; and the report on all other assumptions made in the Draft IRP2016.

Within days, a revised Draft IRP2016 Revision 1 dated November 2016 was published on the DoE website in which all references to the above missing Appendices have now been removed. In addition, the gazetted Draft IRP2016, and its Revision 1 on the DoE website, contain a number of further important errors, inconsistencies and omissions, as detailed below.

Erroneous and inconsistent technology costs used

One of the major areas of error, inconsistency and omission in the Draft IRP2016 report is that of the technology costs used.

In the first instance, the Draft IRP2016 states that the costs of generic technologies used are based on a previously secret, updated EPRI report dated August 2015, provided via Eskom as a member of EPRI, which was finally released in September 2016. The report was initially marked “Secret”, but is now declassified.

However in the above EPRI report, the critical nuclear, solar PV and wind technology costs presented bear no resemblance to all known, up-to-date, levelised costs of electricity (LCOE) calculations and contracted prices for new nuclear, solar PV and wind power in South Africa.

And it gets worse, click here for the full article.

IRP and IEP public consultation details now on the DOE website

DOE website, 28 November, 2016.

IRP:

Annexures at: http://www.energy.gov.za/files/irp_frame.html

 

The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-30 was promulgated in March 2011. It was indicated at the time that the IRP should be a “living plan”. Since the promulgation of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-30 there have been a number of developments in the energy sector in South and Southern Africa. In addition the electricity demand outlook has changed from that expected in 2010.

The Department of Energy is in the process of updating the IRP and has published Assumptions and Base Case for you to consider and comment on.

You are invited to comment on the Draft IEP Report and the IRP Assumptions and the Base Case through the consultation workshops and or in writing to the Department. Comments received will be considered in preparing a draft final IRP Update which will be submitted to Cabinet for approval. Closing date for submitting written comments is 15 February 2017.

Interested parties interested in making presentation at the workshop must register by sending an email with the presentation to IRP.Queries@energy.gov.za not later than 2 days before the consultation workshop.

Consultation workshops will take place as indicated below with venues to follow once confirmed:

  • Gauteng: Johannesburg – 07 December 2016
  • Kwa-Zulu Natal: Durban – 09 December 2016
  • Western Cape: Cape Town – 13 December 2016
  • Eastern Cape: Port Elizabeth – 14 December 2016
  • Northern Cape – January 2017 (Exact date to be confirmed)
  • North West – January 2017 (Exact date to be confirmed)
  • Limpopo – January 2017 (Exact date to be confirmed)
  • Mpumalanga – January 2017 (Exact date to be confirmed)
  • NEDLAC – February 2017

For any queries regarding the IRP, contact the Department at IRP.Queries@energy.gov.za

 

IEP:

Annexures at: http://www.energy.gov.za/files/iep_frame.html

 

The development of a National Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) was envisaged in the White Paper on the Energy Policy of the Republic of South Africa of 1998 and, in terms of the National Energy Act, 2008 (Act No. 34 of 2008), the Minister of Energy is mandated to develop and publish the IEP in the Government Gazette. The purpose of the IEP is to provide a roadmap of the future energy landscape for South Africa which guides future energy infrastructure investments and policy development. The IEP analyses current energy consumption trends within different sectors of the economy (i.e. agriculture, commerce, industry, residential and transport) and uses this to project future energy requirements, based on different scenarios.

While the IEP focuses on demand for all energy forms across all the economic sectors at a high level, more detailed analysis of different demand growth profiles and supply-side options for the two main energy sub-sectors, namely: electricity generation and liquid fuels supply will be detailed in supporting sector plans. For the gas sub-sector, a draft framework which seeks to explore future possible options for the development of a gas market in South Africa is being developed. This approach has been undertaken to enable the differences in each of the sectors to be analysed in detail taking into account the complexities and level of maturity of each sub-sector.

The Department has published a draft reports on the IEP and IRP Assumptions and the Base Case for comments. Supporting annexures, including a report on the detailed scenarios for liquid fuel supply are also available on the Department’s website for comment.
Comments received will be considered in preparing a draft final IRP Update which will be submitted to Cabinet for approval.

Closing date for submitting written comments is 15 February 2017.

Interested parties interested in making presentation at the workshop must register by sending an email with the presentation to IEP.Queries@energy.gov.za not later than 2 days before the consultation workshop.

Consultation workshops will take place as indicated below with venues to follow once confirmed:

  • Gauteng: Johannesburg – 07 December 2016
  • Kwa-Zulu Natal: Durban – 09 December 2016
  • Western Cape: Cape Town – 13 December 2016
  • Eastern Cape: Port Elizabeth – 14 December 2016
  • Northern Cape – January 2017 (Exact date to be confirmed)
  • North West – January 2017 (Exact date to be confirmed)
  • Limpopo – January 2017 (Exact date to be confirmed)
  • Mpumalanga – January 2017 (Exact date to be confirmed)
  • NEDLAC – February 2017

 

Eskom insists that nuclear will stabilise SA’s power grid

Engineering News, 23 November, 2016.

Eish!!

Eskom intends to issue proposal requests for nuclear power despite the Department of Energy indicating that nuclear energy would only be required in 2037.

According to the Department of Energy’s integrated resource programme policy document, nuclear would only be required as part of South Africa’s energy mix 20 years from now.

However, Eskom’s group executive for generation, Matseka Koko, insists that the policy document only approaches the matter based on a best case scenario regarding the matter.

He also said that commentary regarding the policy document ignores the instability of the grid and nuclear as a viable solution.

This is the full article!

Wind and solar PV bodies cautiously welcome draft IRP, CSP body to contest exclusion

Engineering News, 24 November, 2016.

The wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) industry bodies have responded positively to the allocations outlined in the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) base case, while the concentrated solar power (CSP) body has expressed dismay at the technology’s exclusion.

South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea) CEO Brenda Martin welcomed the IRP update, as well as the accompanying public consultation process, which she said would enable citizens to engage transparently with electricity planners on investment choices.

Here is the full article