EDITORIAL | Joburg must act fast or go from hub to dud
On the eve of the Energy Indaba, Mpho Phalatse warned the city is on a knife-edge. It’s time to turn the knife around
Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse revealed on Monday that South Africans have installed an estimated 200MW of solar panels on the roofs of their homes. An expert at the Johannesburg Energy Indaba explained that 1MW will power 164 houses. That equates to more than 30,000 households who have lost faith in the government’s ability to provide them with reliable electricity. It is a drop in the ocean in the estimated 17.4-million households in SA, but will — and should — become a growing trend as we venture into the world of independent power projects.
Phalatse, in the Sunday Times at the weekend, warned of a potential energy “emergency”, saying Johannesburg’s more than 6-million residents and thousands of businesses may not realise what a knife-edge the city is on. She was speaking ahead of the indaba on Monday and Tuesday, where she said Johannesburg was hoping to add 500MW of alternative energy resources to power its grid.
Eskom’s latest power cuts, combined with reports of sabotage at several of its sites, leave South Africans with little hope of any improvement soon. This year has already seen about 600 hours of blackouts. Too many undertakings from Eskom bosses and politicians have not materialised. Our response to alternative solutions has been too slow. Leading the pack is Cape Town, which is pushing ahead with contracting private power suppliers to supplement what is available. Tenders for independent power producers to supply the city with 300MW of energy close this week. Johannesburg is kicking off its own process at the energy indaba. ..