South Africa | Climate Action Tracker
The new South African government under President Cyril Ramaphosa released the long-awaited draft of its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018) in August, setting out a new direction in energy sector planning. The plan includes a shift away from coal, increased adoption of renewables and gas, and an end to the expansion of nuclear power.
The revised plan, if adopted, would mark a major shift in energy policy, which is remarkable for a coal-dominated country like South Africa. It aims to decommission a total of 35 GW (of 42 GW currently operating) of coal generation capacity from state-owned coal and utility giant Eskom by 2050, starting with 12 GW by 2030, 16 GW by 2040 and a further 7 GW by 2050.
The plan also proposes a significant increase in renewables-based generation from wind and solar as well as gas-based generation capacity by 2030 and beyond, with no further new nuclear capacity being procured.
Implementing the IRP update of 2018 could bring South Africa close to meeting the upper range of its 2030 NDC target. However, we rate South Africa’s NDC target as “Highly Insufficient”. South Africa will still need to adopt more ambitious targets to meet its NDC, such as expanding renewable energy capacity beyond 2030, phasing out coal, substantially limiting natural gas use by 2050 as well as work on other sectors like transport, industry and buildings.