Joburg is asking for suggestions from power generators to overcome load shedding

The Johannesburg government wants to protect its residents from load shedding by sourcing electricity from independent generators.

  • The city of Johannesburg is looking for independent power generators to “protect” residents from the effects of load shedding.
  • The city, which relies heavily on Eskom for electricity, is looking to sign short-term deals of up to 36 months with independent producers.
  • It has not set a limit on the amount of generation capacity required.
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The city of Johannesburg is stretching the grid to bring in independent power generators on board to “protect” local residents from the effects of load shedding.

The city issued a call for proposals on Wednesday, looking for alternative energy sources as it relies on Eskom for 90% of its electricity needs. The remainder of the electricity comes from Kelvin’s independent coal-fired power plant. This is a step for the city to ensure “reliable, sustainable and affordable energy,” said Acting Mayor Mpho Phalatse.

“A city that contributes nearly 16% to the national economy while accounting for 40% of Gauteng’s economy cannot go hours without energy…” added Phalatse.

The aim is to conclude short-term contracts with independent electricity producers – for up to 36 months.

The city has not limited the amount of generation capacity nor the technology required. The city is open to solar, gas, battery storage, waste-to-energy and gas-to-power as an on-demand option – meaning gas is used on demand.

“We are casting the net as wide as we can to try to engage as many stakeholders that are out there to build a holistic and sustainable independent power generation program that is fit for purpose in the City of Johannesburg to protect Johannesburg businesses and communities from the socio-economic poison of state-sponsored blackouts,” said spokesman Nickolaus Bauer.

The deadline for the call for proposals is January 31st.

READ | Creecy questions Johannesburg’s plans to source gas for energy instead of cheap renewable energy

Bloomberg previously reported that the city wanted to buy 500 MW of electricity from independent producers to facilitate load shedding.

“The traditional business model of getting most of our electricity from Eskom is no longer viable. Eskom itself has acknowledged this. That is why we have developed a sustainable energy strategy that includes sourcing electricity from multiple sources,” stated Tshifularo Mashava, CEO of City Power.

The call for proposals is followed by five months of consultations with stakeholders including the National Treasury, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and the City of Cape Town.

The DA-run City of Cape Town has managed to limit its residents’ experience of alternative energy sources such as the Steenbras pumped storage system in the stages of load shedding. Earlier this year, Cape Town published tenders to procure up to 300MW of renewable energy to further limit the impact of load shedding.

Phalatse, a member of the DA, leads a multi-party government in Gauteng. She is expected to face a vote of no confidence in the Gauteng legislature next week.

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