Emalahleni Local Municipality has entered into an agreement with PowerX to explore opportunities in the renewable energy arena.
The municipality has been solely reliant on Eskom for energy which has far reaching financial and service delivery implications.
“Failure by some of consumers to pay for services leads to the municipality unable to pay for bulk supply of power, and in instances where there are power interruption essential services like water provision gets affected,” said municipal spokesperson Mr Kingdom Mabusa.
Municipal Manager Theo Van Vuuren, who signed the agreement with PowerX, said the municipality has been exploring the greening option as a back-up and to supplement power needs of the municipality.
“In the next few weeks we will get a detailed analysis of our power needs, and we are positive that this initiative will lead to an improved energy provision,” Van Vuuren said.
PowerX is not a new kid on the block when it comes to renewable energy.
On their website a brief history takes you through the ranks.
“Shortly after National Government announced its ambitious targets for Renewable Energy in South Africa, the then Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) now Department of Energy (DOE) approved a pilot project with ‘Amatola’ to demonstrate the existence of a market for green power trading in South Africa. ‘Amatola’ secured Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with generators of green power as well as off take agreements with customers and traded successfully under the conditions of the pilot model,” the background read.
In 2008, after reviewing the findings of the pilot project, government approved the establishment of a permanent green power trading market.
In early 2009 ‘Amatola’ applied to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) for a license to trade in green energy.
Public hearings followed and Nersa issued ‘Amatola’ with a five year license to trade in green energy.
Five years later Nersa extended the license for a further period of 15 years.
In 2012, some three years after ‘Amatola’ obtained its trading license, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in Port Elizabeth adopted a forward thinking and progressive green economy strategy and granted ‘Amatola’ the permission to wheel power over the grid in the form of a 20 year Use of System Agreement. In so doing they opened up the opportunity for ‘Amatola’ to purchase electricity from independent power producers and sell such electricity directly to consumers.
‘Amatola’ was renamed POWERX in February 2016 and is Africa’s first licensed Energy Exchange.
Eskom’s media desk also reacted to the news, “We have always reiterated the fact that Eskom supports the role that the renewable IPPs play in the South African electricity market and remain committed to facilitating their entry. We continue to deliver on our commitment to environmental sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint with purchases of renewable energy from IPPs.”