Private Power Partnerships: Joburg’s Answer to Eskom’s Outages

Powering Ahead:
In a transformative move, Johannesburg, South Africa’s heartbeat, has initiated a landmark power pact. By engaging with private producers, the city aims to source a significant 92 MW of electricity, providing a buffer against Eskom’s notorious blackouts.

Initiative’s Genesis:
A joint venture between the local administration and Johannesburg’s utility frontrunner, City Power, led to last year’s call for short-term power purchase agreements. Jack Sekwaila, the MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services (EISD), proudly announced on 24th August 2023, the onboarding of four independent power producers (IPPs) in this endeavor.

The Blueprint:
This step is merely a fragment of City Power’s visionary 10-point scheme which is laser-focused on mitigating the load-shedding menace. The ultimate objective? Churning out a whopping 500 MW of energy by 2030.

Diverse Power Sources:
The power palette includes:

  • Waste-to-energy: 20 MW
  • Gas-to-power: 31 MW
  • Solar generation technology: 40.8 MW

With the inclusion of gas-to-power IPPs, there’s an added advantage: generating baseload power. Essentially, we’re talking about round-the-clock power generation.

The Cost-Benefit Angle:
These diverse generation techniques will not only illuminate Joburg’s streets but do so at a cost that’s lighter on the pocket than Eskom’s rates.

Sekwaila elucidated the distinction, stating, “unlike the 20-year PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) that requires the nod from the Minister of the DMRE as per Section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act, The STPPP programme zeroes in on installations with a surplus capacity starting at 1 MW. This is geared to bolster Joburg’s energy stronghold.” To put things in perspective, a mere 1 MW can light up around 650 homes, a fun fact courtesy of Eskom.

Also Read:   Taking Action Against Load Shedding: Corporations Contribute R100 Million to Power Solutions

Sekwaila’s Vote of Confidence:
“The STPPPs symbolize a giant leap for City Power in its quest to lessen dependency on Eskom. The energy sourced from the IPPs will be a more economical alternative to what City Power currently extracts from Eskom. Plus, two IPPs are grid-ready,” he exclaimed.

Brighter Horizons:
City Power doesn’t stop here. They’ve got a gamut of interventions up their sleeve to combat load shedding’s impact. From rooftop solar panels across 700+ locations, illuminating streets with high-mast solar lights, to escalating their solar water heating systems portfolio. Another feather in their cap? The Small-Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) initiative. This program empowers customers with PV solar systems to channel their surplus power back to the grid.