Another independent power for Cape Town on the way


Cape Town has issued another tender in an attempt to diversify the metro’s power supply and reduce its dependence on Eskom.

The metro says it plans to use the latest tender – the third phase of procurement – to acquire power generated by existing generators so that it can reduce the effects of load shedding on residents over time.

“A two-part procurement structure will be followed, enabling prospective suppliers to supplement reserve power with an optional self-dispatch component,” says Beverley van Reenen, mayoral committee member for energy.

The metro aims to acquire 300 MW of dispatchable power capacity and 200 MW of self-dispatchable power capacity.

The contract period will last for three years and the closing date for submitting tenders is 8 April.

Van Reenen says the most important priority is to protect residents from Eskom’s first four phases of load shedding and finally abolish load shedding in Cape Town. This is done through a short-term plan to add independent power to the metro’s power supply.

“The plan is also to build up the infrastructure in order to gain access to more independent power to completely end load shedding,” she says.

The metro’s short-term plans will largely be achieved through a mix of renewable energy, 500 MW of dispatchable energy that can eliminate up to four phases of load shedding, and voluntary energy conservation programs.

The energy saving program is an initiative where residents receive incentives for voluntary energy saving, including the automated switching off of devices that use a lot of power during peak times.

Soh sail plans so far

The metro says there are four facets of the energy plan that are already underway, and one that has already been completed.

The private small-scale embedded generation mechanism – ensuring up to 100 MW of power – has already been completed. These facets enable residential and commercial customers to generate electricity for their own use. They are then credited for any power they generate in excess.

The embedded renewable energy program (200 MW) is still underway. Once completed, it will help diversify electricity suppliers for more cost-effective electricity.

The dispatchable IPP program (up to 500 MW) – an important mechanism to mitigate the effects of load shedding – is underway, but has already issued 10-year contracts for dispatchable power plants.

A Metro-driven way for third parties to sell electricity to each other using the existing power infrastructure is also on the way (up to 350 MW).

The metro is also currently in the process of introducing 7 MW and 13 MW of additional power from the Atlantis power plant and the metro’s own solar power into the grid respectively.