SA’s no. 3 city has $18bn plan to end power cuts

The South African municipality that includes the port city of Durban, eThekwini, has laid out plans to attract R324 billion in power plant investments by 2035 amid the country’s worst-ever electricity outages.

This city of about 4 million people, South Africa’s third biggest, plans to issue a request for proposals for the construction of 400 megawatts of power generation capacity later this year or early in 2023, depending on when it gets permission from the National Treasury. The tender could attract R10 billion in investment, Sbu Ntshalintshali, the municipality’s head of energy transition, said in a presentation dated September 13.

South Africa’s biggest cities are working to secure their own power supplies as Eskom, the highly indebted national utility, struggles to meet demand due to breakdowns at its poorly maintained coal-fired power plants. The country has seen more than 100 days of power outages this year. Cape Town is assessing bids for independent power provision and Johannesburg is planning a tender to do the same.

eThekwini’s longer-term plans are for the procurement of 2 600 megawatts of generation by 2035 from a mix of power sources including coal and nuclear. The first independent plants are expected to generate electricity in 2025. The initial plants will supply solar power and electricity generated from natural gas, Ntshalintshali said.

The city is seeking to have its power supplied from the following sources:

  • 940 MW of nuclear power
  • 850 MW of power from natural gas
  • 500 MW of coal-fired generation
  • 300 MW from offshore wind-power plants
  • 200 MW of photovoltaic solar power
  • 110 MW generated from biomass
  • 50 MW from waste-to-energy plants
  • 50 MW of hydropower

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