Independent power trickles in
Cape Town – MPs heard on Wednesday that at least 215 megawatts (MW) of privately generated electricity has already been commissioned and is already being fed into the power grid. Another 400 MW is expected to be operational by March next year.
According to Steve Lennon a divisional executive with Eskom, six projects have been agreed with five independent power producers, four contracts are already finalised and have been approved by the electricity regulator (Nersa).
The other two have been sent to the producers for their final approval after negotiations have been completed. A price of R1.25 per kilowatt/hour has been agreed with contracts extending from 15 to 20 years.
"Business and Eskom's assessment is that the potential for more co-generation projects is there," Lennon told Parliament's trade and industry committee, "possibly 1 000 to 3 000MW based on various studies. Some of this appears to be self generation, rather than go-generation."
He told the committee that the current price trajectory and possible energy conservation measures are already providing an incentive for businesses to do this, removing the need for subsidy.
The renewable energy feed-in tariff also provides for about 1 025MW and just over 1 000MW from the open-cycle gas turbine programme by 2013.
Lennon said that Nersa still need to finalise the final the power purchase agreements to be used, and the criteria to be used by the 'single buyer' office in Eskom's system operations division. However the regulator has indicated this could happen within the next two weeks.
"Eskom will commence the procurement process once the power purchase agreements and selection criteria are issued," he said.
- I-Net Bridge