Renewable Energy Source: Google Images

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the attempt by the City of Cape Town to speed up its bid to be allowed to buy renewable energy directly from independent power producers.

At present the matter between the City, the Department of Energy and NERSA is before the Gauteng High Court but the City now wants it to be treated as urgent.

Ms Janine Myburgh, President of the Chamber, said the recent load shedding and the threat of more to come made it essential for all cities and the economy as a whole to have access to additional sources of electricity.

“New solar and wind power would cost about 80 cents a unit which is more expensive than the wholesale price the City pays Eskom for electricity but with the kind of tariff increases being demanded, 80 cents a unit will be a very good price in a few years time.”

She pointed out that renewable energy would be entirely financed by the independent power producers and would not affect the City or Eskom’s borrowings.

The plan was to limit the renewable energy projects to a total of 400 MW. This was a relatively small amount of power when compared to the 1 800 MW supplied by the Koeberg nuclear power station.

In addition, the City buys a small amount of electricity from roof-top solar projects but this supply is expected to increase as Eskom tariffs rise by double digit percentages every year.

Ms Myburgh said it was essential to improve energy security in the Cape and independent power producers could make a major contribution. “There is no doubt that wind and solar power will play a big part in the future and we need to get going as soon as possible. We cannot stand by and do nothing while we wait for the massive Eskom problems to be resolved.”