MTN’s plan to fight load shedding

 ·27 Jun 2023

MTN SA says it plans to become a standalone Independent Power Producer (IPP).

The group said that it will make use of additional solar, gas, and battery energy systems at its head office in Fairlands, Johannesburg.

It said the plant will be the first in South Africa to feature five different generation technologies providing a full load of 4.5MW during load shedding.

Currently, its head office has a hybrid facility with a 2MW gas trigeneration system, a 330kW Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Plant and a host of backup diesel generators.

It now plans to add a 4MW Grid Tied Solar System (5MWp) and a 2MW/6MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) to the existing facility.

Phase 2 of the project will also feature solar and battery energy and will be able to feed energy back to the grid.

As an IPP, MTN said that it will be able to help the City of Johannesburg in generating power during load shedding.

“We are pioneering embedded generation technology and making swift progress. Everything is on track for us to soon become an IPP in our own right, allowing us to better manage our energy when load shedding strikes,” said MTN SA Chief Executive Officer Charles Molapisi. 

“Once completed, our grid dependency will be significantly reduced. When load shedding starts, the facility will disconnect from the City Power grid, and multiple non-interruptible power supplies (UPS) will power essential services. This provides time for the diesel generators to start and power each building in the facility.”

“When the system is stable, a controller will engage the switch gear to energise a medium-voltage (11KV) distribution network. Following this, the 2MW gas engines in the trigeneration plant will be energised, allowing the diesel generation to be reduced, supported by the 2MW BESS. In the day, the solar plant will also assist, further reducing dependency on the diesel generators and BESS.”

During a normal day operation, the solar and BESS will also reduce the amount of electricity required from City Power during daytime and peak demand periods, MTN added.

Read: MTN’s big plans for mobile in South Africa

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