Ethekwini, the municipality that includes Durban, South Africa’s third largest city, plans to seek initial proposals for the construction of 400MW of power generation.
The request for information will be the first by a South African municipal area since the government said last year that cities could buy electricity from providers other than Eskom, which has subjected the country to intermittent outages for over a decade.
The city will seek proposals next week for power generation from any technology, Sibusiso Ntshalintshali, project manager for renewable energy and gas at Ethekwini municipality, said by phone on Wednesday.
In addition to freeing cities from recurrent power outages, sourcing their own power is an opportunity to pivot to sources of energy that produce less or no greenhouse gas emissions. Almost all of Eskom’s power comes from coal.
Johannesburg and Cape Town have similar plans. The City of Johannesburg will issue a request for information for the construction of a 150MW solar plant, 50MW of rooftop solar panels and the refurbishment of an idle gas-fired plant that could generate 20MW by September, the municipality said in a presentation early last month. It will also seek information for the installation of 100MW of battery storage.
The cities will buy the power from private operators that construct the plants rather than run them themselves.
Ethekwini’s request for information will be followed by a more formal request for proposals, a key step to getting projects off the ground, by the end of the year. — Reported by Antony Sguazzin, (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP