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    Tshwane on quest to bring down costly R300m city-wide electrification

    September 20, 2023 - Rekord East


      Tshwane has proposed to lease two power stations to generate 1000MW of energy to reduce its dependence on Eskom.

      This is in the midst of the power utility having threatened the capital city in June for failing to service its hefty electricity bill.

      During a briefing at Rooiwal power station on September 18, mayor Cilliers Brink said the metro spent about R300 million a year electrifying its own buildings as well as water treatment plants and other infrastructure.

      Brink said the existing power stations were licensed to generate power and Tshwane would begin operating them.

      "The importance of being energy secure has been a concern for Tshwane for close to a decade. Every day, rolling blackouts make us poorer, degrade our infrastructure and chip away at the funding model of local government, which has thus far depended on the electricity distribution business."

      He said the excessive wear and tear caused by loadshedding damaged infrastructure and depleted repairs and maintenance budgets as well.

      It also created proactive opportunities for criminals to attack and strip our electricity installations.

      "Tshwane is paying the price today for the lack of investment in infrastructure in the first decade of the municipality's existence, and this has resulted in poor economic growth and stunted development."

      Brink said his energy task team deployed in May was asked to find a solution for Rooiwal and Pretoria West power stations to complement renewable energy technologies suitable for the metro.

      "The climate action plan establishes a pathway towards energy security in the face of climate change while promoting energy efficiency and a transition to renewable energy."

      Brink said through the C40 climate action implementation programme, Tshwane would undertake solar generation for social housing programmes.

      He said the Pretoria West power station had the potential to be repurposed to enable a more renewable form of energy production that will support the revitalisation of the Pretoria West industrial hub in the Pretoria West precinct.

      "Tshwane does not currently have the technical or financial capacity to leverage the potential of these assets to enhance the city's energy security. We have deemed it necessary to create a mechanism to enable the private sector to present solutions through a request for proposals."

      He said further, Tshwane would host an energy indaba around November to communicate the approved policy suite as a forerunner to the announcement of a request for proposals for sustainable and alternative energy solutions to support the transition to a sustainable and secure energy future.

      The briefing is closely knitted to the Tshwane council, recently authorising a 30-day public participation process for the leasing of Rooiwal power station, valued at R200 million, and Pretoria West at R160 million.

      The council resolution derives from its immovable property asset strategy, which maps out the long-term vision for optimising property in its portfolio.

      The intention to lease the two power stations requires public participation in terms of regulations 34 and 35 of the municipal asset transfer regulations for ratepayers to give input on leasing of the properties.

      The metro aims to obtain approval for the assets to be operated by an external source by means of a 40-year lease, with exploration for preferable alternative energy sources such as solar power or gas.

      The power stations have not been fully operational for over eight years and the upgrade to functional would require major investment.

      The process towards independence will involve three phases: - Phase 1: Conduct public participation on the lease in terms of municipal asset transfer (Mat) regulation. - Phase 2: Submission of the feedback report to council for approval in terms of Mat. - Phase 3: Open market tender for 40-year lease.

      According to a metro report, it might not be possible to recommission Pretoria West using its current technology due to its proximity to residential areas, and it runs on more expensive coal compared to Rooiwal, which has only one turbine.

      Pretoria West is also undergoing maintenance after suffering damage to key equipment.

      EFF Tshwane chairperson Obakeng Ramabodu rejected the move to privatise municipal assets, as a similar move at A Re Yeng and TBS failed.

      "The controversial Rooiwal and Pretoria West power stations issue has emerged as a result of collaboration between the DA and ANC, who are accused of selling these power stations to entities aligned with their capitalist interests."

      Ramabodu asserted that the move prioritised capitalist interests over public welfare.

      "The EFF firmly opposes the privatisation of municipal assets and views this new arrangement as a shameful display of disregard for public assets and interests."

      The ANC supported the proposal, calling for the leasing to be extended to 40 years to attract investment.

      ANC councillor Cedrick Tsela said: "It is a good report to lease them, however leasing them for 30 years does not make sense." He said the purchasing power could decrease and the future over three decades was not predictable .

      "We must pursue the green agenda such as organic materials for the power stations. The lease should guarantee jobs for locals."

      Power supply should return soon after attack at substation


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