Cape Town steps up plans to procure own renewable power

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 16 Feb 2022
City of Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and Eskom CEO André de Ruyter. (Image source: City of Cape Town)
City of Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and Eskom CEO André de Ruyter. (Image source: City of Cape Town)

The City of Cape Town is forging ahead with plans to procure its own renewable energy from independent power producers (IPPs) to ensure energy security.

This week, the city will publish tender documents for the first stage of its procurement of affordable, renewable energy from IPPs.

Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis is today set to make a major announcement about the city’s energy future.

The city’s energy plans have been endorsed by power utility Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, who last week met with Hill-Lewis to discuss how Cape Town can help to achieve energy security in South Africa and assist Eskom in becoming a sustainable business.

In a statement, the city says De Ruyter supported the view expressed by president Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that national government is committed to opening the way for municipalities’ procurement of power from the private sector.

Ramaphosa, in his SONA last week, said renewable energy has the potential to plug SA’s electricity shortfall of about 4 000MW of electricity.

This, as state-owned power utility Eskom, which provides over 90% of the county’s electricity, has over the years implemented multiple bouts of load-shedding, much to the detriment of the fragile economy.

Says Hill-Lewis in a statement: “The city’s plans to secure power produced in the private sector accords with the president’s stated position that the role of the state is to enable economic growth and investment, rather than hindering these things through legislation and red tape.

“Eskom supports the opening up of the energy generation market over time to allow for competition. The City of Cape Town has been calling for such a plan for many years, and is encouraged to see it finally coming to fruition in national government and Eskom policy.”

Over the years, Cape Town has been at the forefront of calling on government to be allowed to procure its own energy in order to wean itself from the embattled Eskom.

According to Hill-Lewis, market liberalisation will allow Eskom to build a commercially sustainable operation, centred on a strong transmission grid, while ensuring South Africans have access to reliable and affordable electricity.

He adds that a substantial portion of this electricity will be supplied by IPPs, which will help Eskom to power the country.

Hill-Lewis believes reliable, affordable electricity is critical for fighting poverty and unemployment.

“Given the president’s commitment to alleviating unnecessary constraints on the economy and given Eskom’s support, we are excited about the prospects ahead. We are happy to work in tandem with the national government and its entities, where doing so will ensure a brighter future for all.

“Energy security means businesses succeeding. Energy security means more jobs. Energy security means meaningful economic recovery and growth. Cape Town remains fundamentally committed to the progressive, poverty-ending goal of energy security in South Africa,” Hill-Lewis concludes.