Cities including Johannesburg, Cape Town and eThekwini are trying to tackle dire energy shortages while also meeting environmental commitments.
Michael Sun, Johannesburg’s mayoral committee members for the environment and infrastructure services, told the Joburg Energy Indaba that in 2022 load shedding had cost the country between R60-billion and R120-billion.
“Now you can imagine, if we could use that money, that we suffered as a loss, in building our economy, investing in infrastructure,” said Sun.
Here’s what’s happening in three of South Africa’s major cities.
The City of Joburg held its first Energy Indaba on 23 May, aimed at finding sustainable and affordable solutions to the energy crisis. Mayor Mpho Phalatse said: “We cannot assume any more that our power will be solely generated by Eskom. Instead, more and more alternative energy models have come through and, as the City, we are forced to recognise so-called embedded generation as a serious option.”
The indaba aimed to engage with businesses and the government to find a way to reduce the city’s 90% energy dependence on Eskom and find a permanent solution to load shedding.
Eskom uses mostly fossil fuels, as does independent Kelvin Power Station, from where the municipality gets the remaining 10% of its power, and the city council is keen on “clean” alternatives.
In the short term it wants a 28% reduction in carbon gas emissions, and has a longer term goal of zero emissions by 2050. Technologies identified include solar, battery storage, waste-to-energy and gas.
“Clean energy provided by independent power producers will not only improve the City’s energy security, but also respond positively to the climate change imperative,” said Phalatse.