Comments on South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan 2023

The Minister of Mineral Resources & Energy, Mr. Gwede Mantashe, published the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2023 for public comments in the government gazette on 4 January 2024. Interested persons and organisations were invited to submit comments on this IRP to the Director-General of the Department of Mineral Resources & Energy (DMRE) by 23 March 2024.

The comments submitted by CRSES, along with other submitted comments that we find insightful, can be viewed here:

Future electricity generation at local level

This three-year project, funded by the Nedbank Green Trust, is a collaborative effort between WWF-SA and CRSES. The project assists local governments with the development of policies and models that facilitate the integration of decentralised renewable energy without depleting municipal revenue.

An agent-based decision making tool to support policymakers dealing with residential rooftop PV is under development. The tool will measure how, and to what extent, individual choices pertaining to the installations of residential rooftop PV are both influenced by the state of the system and influences the state of the system in turn. The tool was demonstrated to, and discussed with, the Municipalities of Mossel Bay, George, Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City, who all provided valuable feedback and input.

Capacity building project

The ARUA network partnered with the Grand Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) – a £1.5 billion fund that supports cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. Each ARUA CoE received an award to build the research capacity of African researchers.

The ARUA CoE in Energy has set out a programme of activities where young African researchers will be afforded the opportunity to enhance their research skills and capabilities. This will firstly be done through some of the structured courses designed and presented by the African Centre for Scholarship at Stellenbosch University, and secondly by giving opportunity for ‘learning-while-doing’ – where young researchers will participate in research projects and learn from seasoned African academics while doing so.

Through this programme, the ARUA CoE hopes to contribute toward the development of promising young African academics, strengthen renewable energy research on the continent, and build lasting partnerships between African institutions.

EcoAfrica project

This project aims to enhance agricultural output on smallholder farms by employing agro-ecological techniques (read more about the project here). The role of Stellenbosch University in the project via the ARUA Centre of Excellence, is to investigate what contribution anaerobic digestion technology can make toward achieving this aim. Anaerobic digestion technology lends itself to small-scale agricultural systems, where it can convert spare biomass into renewable energy and fertiliser, and can therefore possibly improve farming economics.

The project sets out to determine whether such benefits can be realised in South African and Madagascan smallholder farming systems, and what the potential impacts of anaerobic digestion are on the farming system as a whole.

Utrecht University collaboration

The ARUA CoE in Energy is collaborating with Utrecht University on a project to determine possible pathways to utilise biomass for energy generation, and to quantify the environmental impacts of these different pathways.

The work specifically investigates whether alien invasive trees in the Eastern Cape can be profitably converted into energy products, and to apply life cycle assessments to indicate which pathway is the most environmentally friendly. Stellenbosch University is currently engaging a wide range of stakeholders to contribute toward meaningful results for the Eastern Cape province.