Cape Town - Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has announced that 15 commercial electricity suppliers will soon start wheeling electricity to residents through its grid following city council approval.
Electricity wheeling is the distribution of electricity from a generator to an end-user located in another area through the use of an existing distribution or transmission network, according to Eskom.
“This may also be across multiple different distribution networks, such as through Eskom to a municipality. All customers, therefore, have energy distributed to them, whether it’s supplied by Eskom or a third-party IPP.”
Hill-Lewis announced the City’s ambitious new energy-focused project on Wednesday, June 7 2023, following the approval of the City’s mayoral committee on energy, which approved the authorisation for 15 energy firms to start selling electricity using the city’s grid infrastructure earlier in the week.
The 15 wheeling pilot participants include, 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.
Commenting on the development, Hill-Lewis said: “Wheeling allows people to buy electricity from each other using existing grid infrastructure. The future is now, as Cape Town gears up for the first electron to be wheeled between our pilot project participants this July.
“This is the business end of our pilot, following the development of the billing engine and the completion of wheeling agreements.
“Cape Town’s electricity landscape is rapidly liberalising off the back of our end load-shedding plans, with 700MW of independent power under procurement, innovative Cash for Power and Power Heroes programmes, and now the sale of electricity wheeled between market participants.”
In 2022, the City invited applications to participate in the wheeling pilot with fifteen participants representing 25 generators and 40 customers, who have now confirmed and will soon start wheeling.
Mayco member for energy Beverly van Reenen said Cape Town also already has the enabling legislative framework in place for wheeling, with the City’s Electricity Supply By-Law allowing for the retail wheeling of electricity through the network.
Wheeling will take place on 11kV and higher voltages.
“The City is getting on top of the complexity of wheeling, which requires new skills, regulatory and policy changes, billing development and bilateral agreements. Our programme will allow electricity to be wheeled over both the municipal and Eskom distribution networks in Cape Town.
“Sales for the project will be governed by bilateral power purchase agreements within a market environment as opposed to a regulated environment, and as the price of the energy is set between the parties, not by the City, Eskom or the National Energy Regulator of South Africa,” Van Reenen said.