Durban plans to move off Eskom’s grid and away from load shedding

Ethekwini, the South African municipality that includes the port city of Durban, has become the first in the country to seek proposals for private power generation.

The municipality on Friday published a request for information for the supply of 400 megawatts of power in a bid to ease reliance on national utility Eskom, which has subjected the country to intermittent power outages for more than a decade.

It will also allow the city of 3.8 million people, which houses Africa’s largest port, to get more of its energy from renewable sources as Eskom relies almost entirely on coal.

Ethekwini is seeking a “diverse mix of sustainable, dispatchable and reliable power generation technologies,” the municipality said on its website, indicating that while it isn’t stipulating which technology should be proposed it does want the power to be available on demand.

The request follows the decision by the South African government last year to allow cities to buy power from providers other than Eskom. Johannesburg and Cape Town have similar plans.

The City of Johannesburg will issue a request for information 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 in September, the municipality said in a presentation early last month.

It will also seek information for the installation of 100 megawatts of battery storage.

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Durban plans to move off Eskom’s grid and away from load shedding