The city of Johannesburg in South Africa is seeking US $278m investment in solar power, and gas-fired power storage projects in bid to improve electricity supply in the city.
The investment is set to foot construction of a 150MW solar plant, 50MW of rooftop solar panels and the refurbishment of an idle gas-fired plant that could generate 20MW. It will also see the installation of 100MW of battery storage.
“We would need to go out to the market to ask for independent power producers for an expression of interest to find out how many of them are able to come with their own capital,” said Paul Vermeulen, chief engineer for renewable energy at City Power, Johannesburg’s power company.
The Johannesburg city is targeting to have 35% of its power from renewable resources by 2030. Ultimately the city could need 350MW of solar-power generation and 250MW of battery storage to supplement purchases from Eskom, according to the presentation. Peak demand in winter is more than 1,200MW. The city is also rehabilitating damaged transmission system which currently results in frequent outages.
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The plans, which aim to see power provision by 2025, comes after South Africa said last year municipalities could buy electricity from providers other than Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the state utility that’s subjected the country to intermittent outages for over a decade.
City Power is also looking into implementing a new tariff structure that would allow independent producers to use Eskom’s grid to transmit electricity to customers, a process known as wheeling. They are also seeking to produce solar energy from the rooftops of its own buildings and purchase some battery storage.
“Wheeling has the potential to unleash significant private investment in clean energy at no cost to Johannesburg city,” said Vermeulen.