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Department of Energy not credible – Outa

Dec 08 2016 05:31
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg –  The public engagement process regarding the draft Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) has been "flawed" in that it is rushed and raises questions on the Department of Energy's (DoE) credibility, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) claimed on Wednesday.

The civil rights body was one of the stakeholders at the IRP 2016 public consultation workshop held in Boksburg. Energy adviser Ted Blom raised concerns over the transparency on the processing of the IRP.

Blom highlighted the group’s concerns that the public participation process was rushed and “unreasonable”. He said that the DoE's intentions may not be “credible” given the rushed approach to finalise the IRP, and that this is “close to being illegal”.

For public participation to be meaningful, the public must have enough time to respond. “Meaningful engagement happens at a sensible pace,” he said. 

Previously Fin24 reported on Outa’s concern that the rushed process is a means to “force nuclear into the energy mix”.

READ: Outa wants ‘rushed and defective’ energy plan trashed

Blom also pointed out that the public participation process did not allow the public to comment after adjustments to the bill are made. “The public must be able to comment on the amended draft and on any policy adjustments to the IRP,” he said.

He further raised concerns that the DoE dismissed the Ministerial Advisory Council on Energy’s (Mace's) recommendation that nuclear power is not needed. This further implied that the DoE leadership was questionable. The lack of transparency contributed to the mistrust regarding nuclear procurement.

ALSO READ: Energy minister’s advisers reveal why nuclear should be dumped

Deputy director general of the DoE Ompi Aphane said the way the public participation process unfolded does not render it illegal. “There is no legal rush to promulgate a new IRP.” 

He added that there was also nothing “sinister” in the DoE placing limits on renewables, but that it has to do with grid constraints. "Over the next five years we have constrains in the Northern Cape, and we cannot implement renewables as we might like. In the Eastern Cape there are grid constraints."

Among the demands made by Outa was to have the Integrated Energy Plan finalised before the IRP process be complete.

The civil body also wants a low cost scenario as the base case for energy. They want constraints on the renewables to be lifted. Each energy scenario should also come with a tariff trajectory, and the potential impact on society should be indicated, said Outa.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

electricity  |  outa  |  energy  |  nuclear  |  department of energy
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