Commercial power producers to start wheeling electricity through the grid in pilot project for Cape Town

The plan will see 15 commercial electricity suppliers sell electricity through the grid to 40 customers from July

The wheeling pilot project will allow third-party producers to use existing grid infrastructure to distribute electricity. Stock photo.
The wheeling pilot project will allow third-party producers to use existing grid infrastructure to distribute electricity. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/wirestock

Fifteen commercial electricity suppliers will start wheeling electricity through Cape Town’s grid in July as part of a pilot project allowing third parties to sell electricity to address the country’s energy crisis.

The plan will see these suppliers sell electricity through the local grid infrastructure to 40 customers and is expected to be ramped up towards the end of the year.

“Wheeling refers to the financial transactions representing the transportation of third- party electrical energy (kWh) over the municipal/Eskom distribution network. It allows a third party supplier to sell this electrical energy to a customer at their point of supply,” according to the city of Cape Town.

“The sale is governed by a bilateral power purchase agreement (PPA) which exists within a market environment, as opposed to a regulated environment, as the price of the energy is set between the parties and not by the City/Eskom or the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).”

Western Cape premier Alan Winde welcomed the initiative, calling it “much-needed progress” that will complement efforts by the province and municipalities to “reduce power blackouts” and dependence on Eskom. 

“By opening up our energy plans to the private sector, we are empowering businesses, allowing them to become part of the solution to the energy crisis. We are practically and proactively demonstrating that our whole-of-society approach works, especially in a crisis, when it is most needed.”

The 15 wheeling pilot participants who submitted valid applications to generate and sell power are:

  • Amazon Data Service South Africa (Pty) Ltd;
  • Brinmar Private Energy Trading South Africa;
  • Distributed Power Africa (Pty) Ltd;
  • Energy Exchange of Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd;
  • Energy Partners Utilities (RF) (Pty) Ltd;
  • EnerJ Carbon Management;
  • Enpower Trading (Pty) Ltd;
  • Floating Solar (Pty) Ltd;
  • Make a Difference Ventures GP LLC;
  • NEURA Trading (Pty) Ltd;
  • Phofu Solar Plant (RF) (Pty) Ltd;
  • POWERX Proprietary Limited;
  • Redefine Properties Limited;
  • Solar Africa Energy (Pty) Ltd; and
  • Swish Property Seven (Pty) Ltd.

Winde said electricity wheeling is an integral part of province’s energy resilience plans.

“The provincial government and local governments’ strategies to address the power crisis must dovetail to work in a co-ordinated manner. We must attack this crisis from all angles, leveraging all the resources and expertise we have at our disposal,” he said.


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