In a groundbreaking move aimed at securing a sustainable energy future for the City of Johannesburg, the Council of the city has given the green light for a 20-year partnership with Independent Power Producers (IPPs). City Power, the city’s electricity provider, has been facing challenges in ensuring a consistent and reliable supply of electricity to its residents, exacerbated by the nation’s energy crisis. The announcement was made by Jack Sekwaila, the member of the mayoral committee for the Environment Infrastructure Services Department (EISD) within the City of Joburg.
The decision to enter into this long-term agreement with IPPs marks a significant step towards achieving multiple objectives, including energy equality, independence, security, and a reliable energy supply. The move is expected to result in lower costs and fewer interruptions compared to the current situation with Eskom, the national power supplier.
Sekwaila emphasized that while this decision is a step in the right direction, several crucial approvals are still required before City Power can engage in a long-term agreement with IPPs. These approvals will need to come from the Department of Cooperative Governance, the National Treasury, Department of Minerals Resources, and the National Energy Regulator.
The current energy crisis, coupled with the increasing demand for electricity, has strained City Power’s ability to generate sufficient revenue. This revenue is essential for the city’s economic and social development initiatives. The 20-year procurement deal with IPPs is seen as a strategic move to reduce the city’s reliance on Eskom, aligning with the city’s climate action plan adopted in 2021.
According to a recent report presented to the Council, City Power plans to reduce its reliance on Eskom by 5% in 2025. By 2030, the goal is to decrease this reliance from 87% to 66%. By 2035, City Power aims to source only 59% of its electricity from Eskom, with the remaining supply coming from independent power producers. This shift is expected to lead to a reduction in carbon emissions, contributing to a more sustainable and eco-friendly energy landscape.
Bonolo Ramokhele, the chairperson of City Power’s board, hailed this development as “groundbreaking” and highlighted that the city had already secured 92 MW of power from four IPPs last year. This achievement is part of City Power’s comprehensive 10-point plan designed to mitigate the impact of load-shedding, particularly on businesses, which are the backbone of the city’s economic activity.
City Power’s 10-point plan includes exploring alternative energy sources such as solar farms, gas, battery storage, and waste-to-energy solutions. These initiatives are crucial in diversifying the energy portfolio and ensuring a reliable power supply for residents and businesses alike.
Additionally, the City of Johannesburg has taken note of the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2023, gazetted in January 2023. The city has committed to submitting its comments and position on the plan in due course. Once the IRP 2023 completes the public participation process and receives approval from the Minister of the Department of Minerals Resources, necessary adjustments will be made to the current City of Joburg’s Energy Plan to align with the national energy strategy.
This visionary step by the City of Johannesburg demonstrates its commitment to addressing energy challenges, reducing reliance on Eskom, and fostering a more sustainable and environmentally responsible energy future. It marks a significant milestone in the city’s journey toward energy security and independence, benefiting both residents and the broader community.