State-owned power utility Eskom on September 19 launched three programmes to procure more than 1 000 MW for the national grid, which will initially focus on generators capable of supplying more than 1 MW to the grid.
The aim is to sign the first power supply agreement during the course of the current week and for the power to start flowing through the grid as soon as possible.
During a media briefing on September 18 to discuss the move to Stage 6 load-shedding, Eskom mentioned that it would seek to procure up to 1 000 MW of surplus electricity that it believed could be immediately available from existing independent power producers (IPPs) and large companies with their own generation capacity.
The combined impact of the programmes would make an important contribution towards reducing the load-shedding burden on consumers, the utility said in a statement published on September 19.
The Standard Offer Programme will procure power from companies who have existing generation capacity for a period of three years.
“The standard offer approach allows Eskom to purchase electricity at an established price calculated at the avoided cost of own generation, including long-term energy purchases from IPPs.
“It allows for a static price, which is established each year based on the regulatory approved cost recovery and covers the variable cost of generation. The standard offer also allows for a dynamic price option where the price is set day-ahead for each hour of the following day, indicating the avoided cost of generation based on internal scheduling of generators.”
Secondly, the Emergency Generator Programme will procure more expensive power during periods when the grid is significantly constrained. The programme allows for independent generators to provide energy daily to compete with the Eskom generators in the internal market.
The independent generators would supply into the grid based on the offer price and availability provided, the utility said.
Lastly, the Bilateral Power Import Programme will secure imports of power to the country from neighbouring countries.
“Several countries have expressed an interest in selling additional surplus power to South Africa. The programme will provide a mechanism to access such opportunities,” Eskom said.
Eskom is already importing electricity from some of its neighbours via the Southern African Power Pool – an average 200 MW that is being used to augment Eskom generation capacity when the grid is constrained, it added.