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Cape Town reveals plan to eliminate 4 stages of load shedding with renewables

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis revealed that two major renewable energy tenders, which sought to procure 200MW have already been issued and have closed.

South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised economy is currently battling severe power blackouts, known in the country as load shedding, and sometimes last for more than 6 hours per day. The City of Cape Town, South Africa’s second largest city, and the country’s tourism hub has announced plans to protect itself from the first four stages of Eskom’s load-shedding within three years.

In a presentation to the City Council last week, Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis revealed that two major renewable energy tenders, which sought to procure 200MW have already been issued and have closed, and are in the assessment phase. Hill-Lewis further added that a third and bigger tender will soon be issued in a matter of weeks, for procurement of new renewable energy capacity.

“We have already made much progress on the first of our three-phase procurement for Load-shedding protection, with a 200MW procurement of renewable energy concluded last year.”

“Tenders are to be awarded in the coming months, with the procurement now in the evaluation phase of technical proposals received from IPPs,” said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

The Mayor further confirmed that the City is working with the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on grid integration studies to determine when and where these IPPs will feed power into Cape Town’s grid.

The Cape Town Mayor said the second phase of the city’s three-phase procurement for load-shedding protection takes the form of its ‘Power Heroes programme’.

“The initiative is based on paying residents incentives for voluntary energy savings, which will entail automated remote switching off of power-intensive devices at peak times. The “demand response tender” for this programme, launched in October last year, is currently in the evaluation phase, and will also be awarded within the coming months,” said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

The third phase of the city’s energy procurement programme will be launched during this month of February. The city plans to launch a Dispatchable Energy tender, expected to add around 500MW to the city’s grid.

“This tender will not only focus on renewable energy, as the first phase of our Load-shedding Protection Plan, but will include all-important dispatchable technologies, such as battery storage and gas to power. These power sources need to generate power for a significant portion of the day to support our load-shedding protection efforts,” said Hill-Lewis.

“Procuring 500MW will go a long way to ending load shedding over time, given that a single load-shedding stage requires the City to shutdown around 60MW. We will add future phases to this plan in time, potentially including more renewables procurement and utility-scale battery storage,” concludes Hill-Lewis.

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