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City unveils new plans to wean itself from Eskom

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City unveils new plans to wean itself from Eskom

28th October 2021

By: Simone Liedtke
Writer

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The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) this week unveiled a new plan to accelerate security of reliable power supply for residents and businesses in the municipality.

Headed by executive mayor Mpho Moerane, the CoJ has launched an energy mix Energy Sustainability Strategy for the municipality, through which the city seeks to increase its capacity to cater for its growing developmental needs.

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The new strategy seeks to add an extra 500 MW of gas and solar capacity to the city’s energy mix.

City Power currently receives 90% of its electricity from State power utility Eskom and 10% from the Kelvin power station, a private power producer.  

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Moerane reiterated that the city was exploring taking over Eskom-supplied areas in Johannesburg, which include Sandton and Soweto.

Meanwhile, the 15-year Energy Sustainability Strategy means City Power is set to be a “wires business” that will not only continue delivering conventional power, but will also cover distributed energy generation and energy storage facilities as its core business, Moerane added.

“The strategy being unveiled today is not an overnight stand-alone initiative, but a long-term plan aligned with the Joburg Growth and Development Strategy – the GDS 2040. It is also in sync with our Climate Action Plan, which aims to ensure that, by 2030, at least 35% of electricity generated in the city is from clean energy sources,” the mayor elaborated.

The new alternative energy mix strategy will kickstart by the end of this week, with the issuing of an official public request for proposals from independent power producers.

It will incorporate a different alternative energy mix that includes 200 MW of electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) farms and rooftop suppliers; 200 MW of private PV electricity generation on the grid through wheeling and trading with customers; 50 MW of gas-powered electricity generation, and 25 MW of capacity from waste-to-energy opportunities at the Robinson Deep landfill site.

This puts the city on a path to secure the targeted 35% of electricity supply in Johannesburg from renewable and cleaner sources of energy by 2030.

“This means the city is set to reduce our reliance for generating capacity on the national power utility by up to 15%, and thereby minimising the chances of Eskom scheduled load-shedding. I can say without contradiction that the added alternative sources’ capacity will exempt Johannesburg from load-shedding in the near future,” Moerane said.

Additionally, the city is also actively looking for other innovative ways, including the construction of power plants of up to 100 MW as provided for in the amendment of Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act.

City Power has embarked on 14 key projects around the realisation of a cleaner energy generation mix budgeted at about R10-billion, which are also in line with the approved Integrated Resource Plan, the National Development Plan and the city’s energy strategy.

Environment Infrastructure Services MMC Tania Oldjohn said the new energy mix strategy would ensure that everyone, including the poor, in the city have access to affordable power.

“As a government, we have a responsibility to ensure that every citizen of this city has access to reliable electricity. With our developmental and economic growth plans, we cannot afford power interruptions,” said Oldjohn.

“With the path we are taking, we are able to reduce over-reliance on Eskom, particularly since it has proven to be unreliable when it comes to energy supply. Ultimately, this will help make Johannesburg’s economy function at its maximum, create jobs and make our city safe,” she added.

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