Cape Town is sitting tight for new energy

 ·23 Mar 2023

The City of Cape Town is awaiting responses to tenders issued relating to new energy security initiatives.

This comes after a province-wide push to shift away from relying solely on the embattled power utility Eskom.

In February, Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said there is no way for Eskom to pry itself out of the load-shedding issue, and it is, therefore, up to the city to take matters into its own hands.

According to the city, its latest initiative aims to assist in ending load shedding over time and diversify the energy supply through private participation and the purchasing of electricity from energy trading platforms.

The city said that a request for information (RFI) had been issued asking the market for energy trading solutions, including market operation and underwriting services, among other things.

The deadline for submissions is 19 April 2023.

Cape Town plans to procure roughly 1,000MW in total over the long term.

This includes 200MW of embedded renewable energy via independent power producers and the 500MW dispatchable energy tender, which includes renewables, battery storage and gas-to-power aspects, it said.

Geordin Hill-Lewis said the 500MW project does not aim to entirely cut ties with Eskom, as that would require more time and investment.

He did, however, confirm that the discussions for the 500MW project are almost finalised, and further information will be available in the upcoming weeks.

“The city also has a demand response tender that was issued in the energy aggregator field called the Power Heroes programme. This all forms part of its plans to protect Cape Town from up to four stages of Eskom load-shedding over time,” said Beverley van Reenen, the city’s mayoral committee member for energy.

‘”It is evident that the South African electricity supply system is undergoing rapid change under the immense pressure of escalating supply shortages.”

She said the latest tender seeks to test the market for innovative energy trading-related services and models.

“To meet this growing challenge facing our country, we will need to be innovative and think outside the box, and the city intends to explore all alternatives and options, particularly ones that can provide the most benefit in the short term.”

The models and services proposed through the RFI could be a key energy transition and resilience lever and may inform the planning of future energy initiatives implemented by the city, she added.

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