Tshwane will lease two power stations to independent power producers

Ernest Mabuza Journalist
The Rooiwal power station in Pretoria is one of two power stations set to be leased by the city to independent power producers. File photo.
The Rooiwal power station in Pretoria is one of two power stations set to be leased by the city to independent power producers. File photo.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Tshwane's city council on Thursday approved the second Rooiwal report, which gave the green light for the city to proceed with the 40-year lease of the Rooiwal and Pretoria West power stations. 

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink said this followed robust public participation engagements with various stakeholders whereby the city received an overwhelming response which indicated residents understood the need to take drastic action to end load-shedding. 

In September last year, Tshwane council approved a public participation process for the proposed leasing of the power stations. 

The city owns the two stations which were historically used for generation of power for the city’s electrical needs before Eskom took over the function. This led to the stations producing little or minimum energy just to keep the stations functional.

However, the city is spending millions a year on salaries of staff employed at the two stations and for maintenance. Tshwane said Pretoria West, which has a total capacity to generate 180MW, was not producing any electricity while Rooiwal (300MW) was producing at least 60MW.

Due to Eskom’s challenges in generating adequate electricity for the whole county, most municipalities are reviving their electricity infrastructure to produce electricity to reduce their reliance on Eskom.

Tshwane said the revamping of the stations to bring them to their maximum functional level would require significant investment which the city could not afford.

“Today's council approval is one of the six steps to get the two power stations running again. It marks a major milestone to move Tshwane closer to energy independence and stabilising electricity supply to communities,” Brink said. 

He said as part of Tshwane’s master energy plan, the city was working towards securing at least 1,000MW of alternative energy in the next three years.

“This has occasioned the need for the city to engage with independent power producers and open up opportunities for alternative energy production.” 

Brink said given the scale of the transaction, the city manager will appoint a professional transactional advisory team to ensure maximum effectiveness. 

Tshwane residents should be proud of this progressive step because every time higher stages of load-shedding hit us, it destroys our infrastructure, leads to prolonged outages and frustration, and creates opportunities for cable theft. That is why this project to move in a different direction is so important for our future.”