GEORGE NEWS - George Municipality could become one of the first municipalities in the country to offer wheeling and electricity trading through the municipal grid after Council last week gave the go-ahead for the first steps in this direction.
According to Chantel Edwards-Klose, head of communications, the regulatory process of wheeling and electricity trading within a municipal environment is unknown.
The municipality will have to address that, and it must also develop and explore the technical aspects.
Mayor Leon van Wyk said the process will start with an application by the energy trader for the required trading licenses from the national energy regulator (Nersa). Municipal by-laws and policies also have to be amended.
"Once these are in place, the municipality will, for example, be allowed to offer wheeling of electricity through its grid for a person who generates power through an alternative source to, say, a factory in another part of the municipal area that wants to buy electricity. The tariff charged by the municipality provides a revenue stream without any additional layout. The municipality plays a facilitating role," said Van Wyk.
Another aspect of electricity trading entails that the municipality buys surplus supply from private persons who generate electricity through alternative means.
Van Wyk said the initial target is for the municipality to secure 10% of its electricity demand through alternative energy. "This is about 8,5 megawatt. You would need a large installation and substantial investment to generate this amount."
He said the strategy would encourage investment in renewables that will hedge the city's risk against Eskom and load shedding.
"For example, Cape Town's Steenbras power station, together with power acquisition from the private sector, enables the city to remain switched on during stage 1 load shedding. This is the direction we want to gradually move towards.
"This strategy also adds capacity to the South African network, so the benefit stretches wider."
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is another municipality that has introduced electricity trading into its grid.
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