Let’s Talk Stage 8 Loadshedding and How NMB is Going to Utilise that 250 MW License. Acting Executive Director of Electricity and Energy, Bernhardt Lamour, confirmed today that the Municipality has been instructed by Eskom to prepare Loadshedding schedules up to Stage 8 which will shed 40% from the grid.
This morning we were taken on a tour of the Munelek Central Control Room – yes THAT place from which our electricity is switched off whenever Eskom demands that we shed a bit of a load whenever the system is under ‘strain’.
The bad news bits first:
- We were not allowed to film or photograph the control room
Loadshedding looks set to continue
- Stage 4 only allows for 20% of the load to be shed
- Municipalities have been instructed to develop schedules to Stage 8 to allow for 40% load shedding country wide
- The load shedding is taking it’s toll on the Municipal Grid Infrastructure and adding to higher maintenance cost and essential equipment failures.
The good news bits:
- Essential services – hospitals etc. are NOT part of load shedding
- The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is the only one that excludes Major industry from the load shedding schedules
- The municipality is looking at utilising the 250 MW generation license via renewable energy such as solar power.
The NMB Cities Renewable Energy Plan:
When the numbers around the establishment of the Medupi Power Station were released solar PV installations were a bit more expensive than today. Despite that – a similar investment by Eskom in renewable power (Solar PV) on the roofs of South Africans would have generated a similar amount of electricity as Medupi was set to generate and WITHOUT the loss of fossil fuels..
This idea of ‘renting the roofs’ of Assistance To The Poor (ATTP) beneficiaries and others in South Africa could be a game changer hence my palpable excitement when Nelson Mandela Bay mayoral committee member in charge of the Infrastructure and Engineering Department, Andile Lungisa mentioned that the city was keen to utilise renewable energy as part of the existing and under utilised 250 MW power generation license.
To the suggestion that the city hire the roofs of ATTP households and others – Lungisa had the following to say:
- Yes, it was a good question
- The residents of this city had a history of destroying infrastructure
- The Malabar ‘experiment’ in which people had been provided with solar and batteries had been a disaster as the batteries and panels had been sold to gangs
- Residents would need to be sensitised to not destroy service delivery items
- ‘Our people’ do not report water leaks in the system whereas in certain ‘other areas’ water leaks were reported promptly by concerned citizens.
Despite Lungisa’s misgivings one is tempted to say that the right management of such a scheme may just bear fruit – unfortunately we did not have the time (or the will?) to debate it further.
So, for the record I would like to throw a bit more into the mix:
- ‘Rent’ the roofs by giving the occupants of each unit in the scheme a certain amount of free electricity based on the amount generated
- Structure that benefit based on the free yield (production over and above consumption)
- Make the installations a community project with other benefits thrown in – park upgrades, rates holidays etc.
- Base the project on a monthly yield basis from the entire community – each Group becomes responsible for the total production and integrity of the plant.
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