The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy this week gazetted South Africa’s long-awaited Integrated Resource Plan, detailing the country’s energy future for the next decade and beyond.
However, through a slight administration error, the department somehow managed to publish an earlier version of the document and not the final approved version.
A department spokesperson confirmed to energy expert Chris Yelland that the incorrect document was published. It was not the version approved by Cabinet.
The version published on the department’s website and given out to journalists was the correct version, however.
The main differences between the two published documents are mostly text changes – with the energy mix numbers remaining unchanged – but this does not mean the inconsistencies are superficial.
A notable difference is in the wording in the nuclear energy section, which puts forward room for 2,500MW of capacity in this area.
The older version of the document states that South Africa will “immediately commence the nuclear build programme to the extent of 2,500 MW because it is a no-regret option in the long term”.
The official document changes this to:
“Commence preparations for a nuclear build programme to the extent of 2,500 MW at a pace and scale that the country can afford because it is a no-regret option in the long term.”
South Africa’s nuclear plans have been a major sticking point among analysts and commentators, as it is most commonly linked to former President Jacob Zuma and his cabinet, which pushed hard for a massive nuclear build in the country.
Plans to pursue nuclear were seemingly rubber-stamped in government, which were projected to cost the country R1 trillion until the aggressive pursuit was put on ice by the new ministers who took over in 2018.
You can read the full, correct, energy plan below: