Gas Pressure: Exploring the case for gas-fired power in South Africa
As of 2022, South Africa does not have gas-fired power. There is increasing pressure from the national government, industry lobby groups, and the electricity utility to develop a gas-to-power sector, while there is also mounting pressure from many stakeholders opposed to gas. This report aims to provide an evidence base for rational decision making at this important juncture in developing the national energy mix.
In South Africa, renewables are cheaper than gas for bulk electricity supply, and energy storage has dropped enough in price to displace gas for peaking power too.
Government must hold off on developing gas-fired power and urgently boost renewables and energy storage.
The South African power system can be developed so that gas supply is not needed until 2035, if ever.
The Gas Pressure report looks at whether South Africa should consider building gas-fired power stations and associated gas supply infrastructure. The recent disruptive changes in the power sector from technological advances and cost reductions—first in renewable energy and then in energy storage—are challenging the view that gas is still required for a low-carbon energy transition. The report analyzes the status quo of gas development, the risks associated with gas, the improvements in alternatives to gas, and whether gas is necessary in the power sector before 2035, if ever. Recommendations are made for short-term priorities to address the constrained national power system.
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