Powering Up Johannesburg: An Inside Look at City Power’s Ambitious Plan

Johannesburg – If you’ve been plagued by those pesky blackouts, City Power might just have the tonic for your woes. On August 24, amidst much anticipation, City Power’s top brass gave us a snapshot of the roadmap they’re charting for the city’s energy future.

Big Moves, Bigger Numbers

  • 92MW of power? Check.
  • Sourced from four independent power producers (IPPs)? Double check.
  • All part of a grand design to generate a whopping 500MW by 2030? Triple check.

And let’s not forget the cherry on top: This power will be notably cheaper than what’s currently procured from Eskom.

Pulling Power from Varied Pockets

From turning waste into energy, harnessing the might of the sun, to tapping into gas-to-power sources, these IPPs are not just diversifying the energy mix but also providing the city with round-the-clock, dependable power.

To quote MMC for EISD Jack Sekwaila, “A total of 16 bids were received and four were successful with a total aggregated capacity of 92MW… The gas to power offers the city the leverage for baseload generation (24-hour/365-day power generation).”

Getting Down to Business

This is no ordinary procurement; it’s the STPPP – a program tailored for procuring excess power from IPPs for a capacity of 1MW and up. Unlike its 20-year counterpart, the PPA, the STPPP is targeted to beef up Joburg’s energy security with installations boasting excess capacity.

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CEO Tshifularo Mashava weighed in, shedding light on the immediate benefits. “The entity has made tremendous inroads to cushion Johannesburg residents from the gruelling effects of the ongoing load-shedding. In addition, the two winning bidders are ready to connect their energy source to our grid immediately.”

Beyond Just Purchasing Power

But City Power isn’t stopping at just securing power. They’re adopting a holistic approach:

  • Solar Power Integration: They’ve begun by lighting up their head office with rooftop PV systems, signaling the start of a larger rollout across 700 CoJ sites.
  • The Skyline Project: Ever thought the city’s rooftops could become power hubs? Well, City Power is on it, envisioning interconnected PV systems that form a Virtual Power Station.
  • Lighting Up the Streets: Since April 2023, the city has lit up streets across non-affluent regions with solar high mast public lighting. Feedback? Overwhelmingly positive, with residents expressing a sense of security during blackouts.
  • Small-Scale Embedded Generation: City Power is taking strides with its SSEG programme, allowing customers with solar setups to feed their surplus power back into the grid.
  • Gearing up with Geysers: Addressing demand side management, City Power is rolling out 20,000 solar geysers across the city, particularly in areas that grapple with overloading.
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The driving force? A vision to reduce peak demand and energy consumption, providing a buffer against load-shedding.

The Final Word

As we await further details over the next couple of months, City Power’s recent announcements signal a step in the right direction. Their initiatives not only promise to shield residents from load-shedding but also catalyze a shift towards sustainable, affordable, and diversified power solutions.

So, here’s to brighter (and uninterrupted) days ahead for Johannesburg!

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