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100 MW of OCGT power to be available in Gauteng by April – Lesufi

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi

20th February 2024

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Johannesburg power utility City Power will, on behalf of the Gauteng government, add 100 MW of electricity capacity to the grid to assist the Gauteng province in its goal to reduce the impact of loadshedding on residents.

The 100 MW would be generated using open-cycle gas turbine (OCGT) technology and this would later be expanded to 300 MW, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said in his State of the Province Address on February 19.

This investment, combined with smart meters, could generate the megawatts needed to cushion residents against two stages of loadshedding, which was a critical step toward energy stability for the nation’s economic hub, he said.

Further, solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery energy storage systems are being integrated into 21 government healthcare facilities, with the first of such facilities deployed at the Diepkloof clinic, in Soweto, on February 16.

The province's five-point energy crisis response strategy includes eliminating all illegal power connections, installing smart meters in every home and business, improving revenue collection, cleaning the indigent register and replacing all damaged transformers.

Lesufi also announced a long-term plan with mining company Sibanye-Stillwater, which approved land leases for six independent power producers to develop a solar PV power station, also known as a solar farm cluster, in the Merafong local municipality.

"This is designed to harvest at least 800 MW of solar power and supply it to the electricity grid, which will be a game changer for our province," he said.

Additionally, through its energy crisis response plan, Gauteng partnered with State-owned power utility Eskom and City Power to deliver 429 transformers. To date, 333 have already been installed and switched on, benefitting more than 32 000 township households in the communities of Kagiso, Boiphelong, Doornkop, Orange Farm and others.

"We will intensify this programme until every township and household has been legally switched on, especially Evaton, Ivory Park, Winterveld and other communities," added Lesufi.

Meanwhile, as part of Gauteng's memorandum of understanding with City Power, it is rolling out a pilot microgrid in the Alexandra township, which will provide a standalone solution to meet basic power needs for low-income households within townships and informal settlements.

"We will expand into at least 13 more communities across the province in Emfuleni, including Cape Gate, Sebokeng Unit 20 Tshepiso Ext 3 and Ramaphosa; Mogale, including portion 80 Nooitgedacht, Soul City and Portion 11 Honningklip 178 IQ; Merafong, including Wedela, Kokosi Ext 99 and Khutsong South Transit Area; Midvaal, including Mamelo; and Rand West local municipalities, including Siyahlala and Jabulane."

Lesufi stated that the protracted national electricity crisis had caused significant hardship for people in the province and had had a detrimental effect on the growth of Gauteng’s economy. Power shortages have a negative impact on the availability of healthcare services, food and water, the level of crime, and unemployment rates, among others.

Energy was not a competency of the province, but loadshedding’s crippling effect on the functionality of the State and its impact on broader society prompted the province to intervene, he added.

"The energy crisis has also had a negative impact on water reticulation and water treatment. Part of the province's energy response includes prioritising the provision of uninterrupted quality water supply and treatment," he noted.

"We have started a programme to mitigate the water supply interruptions brought about by power outages and loadshedding through the creation of an additional point from a separate substation to ensure firm electricity supply to the booster stations at the Eikenhof Pumpstation and Robertsville Rand Water Booster Stations.

"This intervention is designed to exclude these stations from the loadshedding schedule and enhance the reliability of power supply in the main," Lesufi said.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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