The City of Cape Town has played a leading role in stimulating growth of renewable energy in its electricity mix, notably through the first PPA signed with an IPP (Darling Wind Farm), an Independent Power Producer in the Western Cape.
The City has also introduced other firsts in the country, such as the Small-Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG tariff to support consumers who purchase solar panels and generate surplus energy which is fed back into the municipal grid. A wheeling framework, to allow for third party access to the distribution grid, is also under development. This framework will facilitate the transacting of power flow between participants on a willing buyer/willing seller basis.
This culture of innovation, coupled to a political vision that aims to grow the contribution of renewable energy in the City to 20% by 2020, is an ideal catalyst for sustainable development of the City. Various plans, such as the IDP, SECAP and Energy 2040 create a blueprint for the rollout of clean energy services in the future. The City is driven by a need to be resilient to a host of limiting influences, such as drought, climate change and growing unemployment in the region. This resilience is manifested in various programmes and initiatives that include measures undertaken by the Energy Directorate. Examples of these initiatives are provided in the presentation.
The state of our economy at present, coupled with a migration of electricity consumers to off-grid supply and non-technical losses, has culminated in an annual loss in revenue of roughly 2%. This has resulted in the City spearheading a legal challenge to ensure the Constitutional right of the municipality to purchase power from independent sources is ensured. Purchasing cleaner energy, as part of the City’s 2020 vision is expected to be concluded at lower tariffs than that offered by Eskom at present. Current electricity prices are unaffordable to many residents of Cape Town and the significant increase in the incidence of illegal connections and meter tampering is proof of this. The City is therefore pursuing a variety of options, including bulk energy storage, smart micro-grids and electric vehicle SSEG to further bolster electricity supply while attempting to reduce the real cost of power to our communities.