Cape Town wants to make its own electricity

The City of Cape Town’s executive deputy mayor, Ian Neilson, says that the city wants to generate its own electricity so as to become less reliant on power utility, Eskom.

This is according to a report in Business Day, which reported that the city is interested in “entering into a power purchase agreement with a private company that will construct a gas-fired power station within the city to provide Cape Town with a power supply which is not dependent on Eskom’s monopoly”.

This will provide an anchor for the investment required to bring a gas supply into the city, Neilson said.

Eskom’s electricity woes are have been well documented in recent months, and despite continual blackouts, government officials, including President Jacob Zuma, have denied that the company is in crisis.

Neilson, who is also the mayoral committee member for finance, disagrees, stating that load shedding is costing companies in the city as much as R1 billion a month.

“A national grid powered by large power stations cannot be our sole source of energy, or even of electricity,” Neilson told Business Day.

Ten days ago, the first unit of the Medupi power station finally began adding electricity to the South African power grid, marking the end to years of delays hindering the switch-on.

“Within the next three months, South Africa will see Medupi unit six’s full potential of 794MW being fed into the South African national grid,” Eskom chief executive Tshediso Matona said.

Medupi’s total output of 4,764MW however, is only expected to be synchronised to the grid by 2019.

Synchronisation involves the generator being connected to the grid so its power is aligned with all the other generators to deliver electricity.

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Cape Town wants to make its own electricity