Eskom, the State-owned power utility which accounts for 95 per cent of electricity generated in South Africa, has welcomed the release of the country’s energy and electricity plans for public comment by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson this week.

The Minister announced on Tuesday the release of the much anticipated Energy Master Plan, which reveals the government’s medium to long term plans for electricity provision within the approved energy mix leading up the year 2050.

Joemat-Pettersson said the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) and the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) would be gazetted for public comment and engagement on Friday, Nov 25.

Eskom said in a statement here Wednesday that it supports the development of a long-term energy and electricity plan for the country.

The purpose of the IEP is to provide a roadmap of the future energy landscape for South Africa, which guides the future energy infrastructure investments and policy development. Two of the objectives identified in the IEP is minimising the cost of energy and promoting the creation of jobs and localisation.

“We will register as an interested and affected party and submit our comments on the plans through the formal process,” says Eskom’s Group Executive for Generation, Matshela Koko.

Joemat-Pettersson said the Department of Energy will publish the updated version of the IRP on Friday. The new document updates the current IRP 2013-30 plan. IRP2010 places specific emphasis on broadening electricity supply technologies to include gas, imports, nuclear, biomass and renewables (wind, solar and hydro) in response to the country’s future electricity needs and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Eskom’s current plans are closely aligned to a base case scenario that takes South Africa’s carbon budget into consideration and annual constraints to bringing renewable energies onto the grid.

“This scenario requires the first nuclear unit by 2026. To this end, Eskom has indicated that it will go ahead with the request for proposals (RFP) for nuclear by the end of December 2016, as all indications show 2026 is feasible to deliver the first unit. Should these assumptions not hold and another scenario comes into play in March 2017, we will change accordingly,” said Koko.