In a consultation paper gazetted on Monday, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) outlined government plans to add 2,500MW of nuclear power to South Africa’s electricity mix by 2030.
The NERSA paper states that the department of mineral resources and energy (DMRE) will be responsible for procuring the new nuclear build.
The consultation paper outlines that the role of the procurer [the DMRE] will be to “conduct the procurement programmes, including preparing any request for information (RFI), request for proposal (RFP), and/or related and associated documentation, negotiating the power purchase agreements, facilitating the conclusion of any other project agreements, and facilitating the satisfaction of any conditions precedent to financial close, which are within its control”.
Stakeholders are requested to comment on potential issues as outlined in the consultation paper with the planned new nuclear build programme, to assist the regulator in “making a well-considered decision”.
NERSA explained that the consultative process will include public hearings where stakeholders will be given an opportunity to make oral presentations on the issues raised in the consultation paper.
For example, NERSA invites commentary on the feasibility of a partnership between Eskom and a private company “in view of Eskom’s current balance sheet”, and what the risks would be to electricity customers of such an arrangement.
The regulator has requested input on what the most cost-effective model of plant construction would be to avoid excessive cost overruns, and asks whether Eskom should be involved in the construction of the plant.
The closing date for the submission of comments is 5 February 2021.
However, stakeholders and members of the public are requested by NERSA to submit written comments on the issues raised in the consultation paper, as well as any other issues deemed necessary, the regulator advised.