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'Stage 2 load-shedding is more like stage 4 in Johannesburg'

23 May 2022 - 15:48
Environment and infrastructure services MMC Michael Sun and Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse speak to media at the Energy Indaba at the Sandton Convention Centre on Monday.
Environment and infrastructure services MMC Michael Sun and Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse speak to media at the Energy Indaba at the Sandton Convention Centre on Monday.
Image: Alex Patrick

“When Eskom says we are on stage 2 load-shedding, the load-shedding is more like stage 4 in Johannesburg,” environment and infrastructure services MMC Michael Sun said on Monday.

He was speaking at the first Johannesburg Energy Indaba, serving as the city's open call to potential independent power producers (IPPs) to add to the coal baseload with renewable energy solutions.

SA has already experienced 594 hours of blackouts this year as the country races towards implementing the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-2030 on energy. The IRP national electricity plan, promulgated in 2011, directs the expansion of the electricity supply.  

In 2020, as rolling blackouts increased, the Electricity Regulation Act was amended to  allow municipalities to buy their own electricity. 

Johannesburg now relies on 90% of its energy from Eskom and 10% from the IPP Kelvin, which is a coal-fired power station.

Sun said Johannesburg was the most difficult city to run in terms of the national energy crisis.

“If we compare the number of residents and businesses in city, stage 2 is not stage 2. We suffered a loss of R60bn to R120bn across the country [since the beginning of load-shedding in February] — imagine what we could do with that money. 

“We must move away from dependency on Eskom.”

The knock-on effect of load-shedding created other losses, such as financial losses and loss of time, which would be equal to the city being on stage 4.

City Power has to physically switch off and restart power manually in parts of the city, which translated into overtime and other labour costs. 

Switching the grid on and off also damaged the city's failing infrastructure, which creates more unplanned outages.

The intention is to move away from fossil fuels to green energy technologies.

In the short term, the city wants to achieve a reduction of 28% in carbon gas emissions by 2025.

The city said in its opening summary that with continued year-to-year reductions in carbon gas emissions, it expects to have net-zero gas emissions by 2050.

Last year the city said it was looking to add to the grid:

  • 200MW of electricity from photovoltaic farms and rooftop suppliers;
  • 200MW of private photovoltaic electricity;
  • 50MW of gas-powered electricity; and
  • 25MW from waste to energy in the Robinson Deep Landfill site.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse warned of a potential energy “emergency”, saying the city's more than 6-million residents and thousands of businesses may not realise what a knife-edge Johannesburg is sitting on.

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