De Lille: Let Cape Town buy Eskom’s unwanted IPP energy
Cape Town – The City of Cape Town is demanding that Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson allows it to procure renewable energy from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the light of Eskom’s decision not to do so, mayor Patricia de Lille said in a statement on Monday.
“We will not sit back passively waiting to be crippled by Eskom’s decision especially amid rapidly escalating electricity prices,” said De Lille.
She said she wrote to Joemat-Pettersson in November last year asking for what is termed a Section 34 determination to allow Cape Town to procure 150MW of solar energy and 280MW of wind energy from IPPs.
“If we are allowed to procure renewable energy, we can reduce the long-term electricity costs for our residents and provide a greater measure of protection against energy insecurity and Eskom’s load shedding,” said De Lille. “Our outdated electricity regime forces us to be wholly dependent on Eskom for our energy requirements.”
In her view, the time has come to restructure the entire South African electricity industry “and break the vertical monopoly status that Eskom has enjoyed”.
De Lille said she was shocked to read that Eskom is no longer interested in procuring renewable energy from the successful bidders which came through the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP).
“It is extremely worrying that Eskom is now choosing to forego what is, in many instances, the cheapest form of new electricity generation,” said De Lille.
“The price for all renewables has fallen dramatically – such that wind energy is now far cheaper than new coal-fired generation.”
An example of the growth of this industry she mentioned is the 12 000m² wind tower mast production facility of GRI Wind Steel South Africa which is situated in the City-enabled Green Technology Industrial Park in Atlantis.
This R300m investment means that wind towers are produced locally, thereby, providing jobs and a diversification of energy mix.
“Eskom’s refusal to buy this cheaper source of energy could lead to it being forced to procure energy from far more expensive options such as nuclear power, which will have a knock-on effect of much higher electricity prices for South African consumers,” said De Lille.
“We call on other metros in South Africa to put politics aside and to join us in lobbying for much-needed changes to our outdated electricity regime.”
De Lille said she still has not received a response from Joemat-Pettersson to her letter.
“Should we not receive a positive response, we are considering all our options to secure our right to take control of our energy future, including possible legal action,” said De Lille.
Read full story: Fin24