South Africa needs major power plant construction drive, government report warns

Electricity pylons in silhouette against a sunset in Africa (Image: Reuters) Image: Reuters

South Africa is in need of a massive power plant construction programme if it wants to ensure adequate electricity supplies up to 2050.

That’s according to a new planning document released by the government for public comment on Thursday (4 January).

South Africa saw power cuts – known in the country as “load shedding” – reach record levels of up to 10 hours a day last year, despite being the continents most industrialised economy.

An update to the South African government’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) examined different options to close the power shortfall up to 2030, and the period from 2031 to 2050.

The plan recommended delaying the planned shutdown of coal-fired plants to retain capacity, while it looked at accelerating “dispatchable” power generations like gas plants up to 2030.

Dispatchable facilities can be ramped up or down depending on power system needs.

Between 2031 and 2050, the IRP said ways to ensure security of supply included different combinations of nuclear power, renewables, clean coal and gas.

“In the period between 2031 and 2050 the system will require a massive new build programme with significant capacity required in just over a decade from now,” the IRP said.

South Africa is due to hold a general election this year, with the issue of how to get a grip on the problem of load shedding likely to be a key issue.

Read more about how 2024 is the biggest election year in history and how some of those elections could affect construction here.


Receive the information you need when you need it through our world-leading magazines, newsletters and daily briefings.

Sign up

Andy Brown Editor, Editorial, UK - Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786224 E-mail: [email protected]
Neil Gerrard Senior Editor, Editorial, UK - Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 7355 092 771 E-mail: [email protected]
Catrin Jones Deputy Editor, Editorial, UK – Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 791 2298 133 E-mail: [email protected]
Eleanor Shefford Brand Manager Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786 236 E-mail: [email protected]