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Cape Town to build own power plants, buy additional electricity

And reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Image: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg

Cape Town is seeking to secure more than 450 megawatts of power from renewable sources to cut reliance on state power utility Eskom and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

South Africa’s second-biggest city is looking at a range of options and expects the bulk of the electricity to be generated from solar plants, Kadri Nassiep, the city’s executive director of energy and climate change, said in an interview.

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On July 14 the city of 4.6 million people released a request for information to seek funding to build its own plants. This month or next it will seek proposals for the provision of as much as 150 megawatts from privately owned plants to be built and operated within the city, he said. As much as 300 megawatts may also be purchased at a later stage from plants outside of Cape Town, according to Nassiep.

The city could secure finance to build 100 to 200 megawatts of its own generation capacity, Nassiep said. “We realised that it is important for the city to be more in control around the pricing of the power,” he added.

Power outages

Cape Town’s foray into the securing of power from sources other than Eskom comes after more than a decade of intermittent electricity outages because the utility can’t meet national demand. The government last year said municipalities could find alternative suppliers.

Earlier this month Ethekwini, the municipal area that includes the city of Durban, issued a request for information for the provision of 400 megawatts of power.

The City of Johannesburg will in September seek information and proposals for the construction of a 150-megawatt solar plant, 50 megawatts of rooftop solar panels and the refurbishment of an idle gas-fired plant that could generate 20 megawatts, it said in June. It will also seek information for the installation of 100 megawatts of battery storage.

Cape Town, which uses a peak of 1 800 megawatts of electricity in winter, hopes to start generating some of its own power next year, according to a statement that accompanied its request for financing proposals.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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Pretty soon there will be a flood of people to the western cape looking for a better life.

Only sensible province in the country

The flood has already happened. Just drive from Strand to Cape Town on the N2 and see the thousands of shacks all over the place. The city can already not cope with the first flood, a second one will destroy all hope for the people already there and reduce it to another disfunctional city. Our only hope is if we can fix the other cities and rural areas destroyed by incompetent administrations.

There’s already a steady flow of people from other provinces into the W Cape (mostly Cape town of course).

This will likely just increase that flow. A lot of people consider it a bit of a “semigration” Vs actually going overseas.

The idea of own generation sounds very good, but it may be good to remember that the reason for Eskom’s existence was because every town had it’s own power station. It was normally too expensive to operate and the limited capacity was hampering the town’s growth. We must just manage this process well, otherwise we will end up with a lot of small, uneconomical islands again.
I am also quite certain that the peak consumption of the city is at around seven o’ clock at night. If the renewable plants do not have storing capacity, they will still be 100% dependent on Eskom (dirty energy) during peak time and those old coal stations can not be swithed on and off like your kitchen light, they take time to come on line.

You make a good point, but times have changed and so has technology. It is clear that any venture under DA control has a much better chance of success than an ANC-controlled venture. The coal resources are concentrated at current Eskom stations, but sun and wind are everywhere. All sources of energy originate from the sun and all technologies that generate electricity were developed by accountable people with an IQ above 80. These forces of nature mix with human potential at DA municipalities to provide services. IQ constraints destroy service delivery in the rest of the country.

The ANC will squander, mismanage, and misappropriate even the rays of the sun.

You have some fair points… But they’ll (hopefully)

1. Manage storage properly, but even if they don’t – paying for a few hours is better than 24hrs when Eskom actually can supply power.

2. It’ll ease the national grid – which we can only hope will give Eskom breathing room to start getting ahead (wishful thinking?)

3. Tech has changed a LOT since the days you’re talking about

& Finally
4. Could anyone, anywhere actually stuff up worse than the ANC?

At least with solar during the day most businesses would be spared load shedding.

My home is off grid in Western Cape. For a house that only consumes around 10kw/h per day I have a system that on a clear sunny day can supply 40 to 50 kw/h, this to get us through these cold fronts when you have three days of very low light. I have 12k watts of lithium battery storage and still have quite a few sphincter clenching days.I do not believe it will ever be possible to run a first world economy on renewables. There is no way to get around the fact that base load is needed at all times.

End of comments.

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