Stellenbosch determined to become first municipality not dependent on Eskom

The Stellenbosch municipality has said that they have launched an investigation into the use and generation of alternate electricity energy supplies as a way of avoiding Eskom and load shedding. This comes shortly after warnings from experts that we might see Stage 8 load-shedding this winter.  

If the investigation delivers the desired results, Stellenbosch will become the first municipality in the country to eliminate load-shedding.

Saying in a release that "the promulgation of the Electricity Regulation Act Regulations in October 2020 opened the door for municipalities to start investigating how they can generate their own electricity and purchase electricity from independent power producers (IPP). We are proud to be the first out of the starting blocks in this regard."

Adding that experts from the University of Stellenbosch, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and the Western Cape Government will all form a part of the joint investigation.

This joint investigation will focus on various potential sources of energy production which will include:

  • rooftop solar panels,
  • methane mining,
  • allowing the public to generate electricity and sell this to the municipality,
  • purchasing electricity directly from registered IPPs,
  • and the possible selling of electricity to willing buyers from outside our municipal area.

The municipality has said that they will be providing more details on this venture once the findings of the investigation are tabled before Council.

Ted Blom, power and mining expert who had spoken to Free Market Foundation’s Chris Hattingh during an episode of the Free Marketeers podcast that this could be the worst year of load-shedding.

He said that Eskom is capable of handling about 11,000MW of shortages before having to implement load-shedding.

However, the utility’s outlook for the next three months in its latest system status report showed near-consistent unavailability of 20,000MW or more when taking both planned maintenance work and unplanned outages into account.

This would mean that the deficit over the next three months would hover around 9,000MW.

However Eskom told MyBroadband that "it endeavours to only load-shed at Stage 4 or below and only when truly necessary, higher stages of load shedding could be required."

Adding that this would be the case if there are numerous, simultaneous breakdowns of generating units and depleted fuel levels at the open cycle gas turbines and pumped storage power stations.

“In the planning scenarios considered, at an unplanned unavailability of up to 14,000 MW of capacity, up to Stage 3 load-shedding is possible,” Eskom said.

“However, if this coincides with depleted fuel at pumped storage and open cycle gas turbines power stations, higher stages of load-shedding are possible,” it added.

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