The City of Cape Town will request permission from the Judge President of the Gauteng High Court for an expedited hearing on its energy case, Cape Town's Acting Executive Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson, announced yesterday. The original hearing date of the case, which will see the City ask the Minister of Energy and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to allow it to buy energy from independent power producers (IPPs), is scheduled for May 2020.
Said Neilson in Tuesday's statement: "The City is fighting for the right to buy cleaner energy directly from IPPs and to improve energy security. This move comes as the energy crisis in South Africa has reached a new peak. The City’s legal team is liaising with the legal teams of the other parties to the matter with a view to approaching the Judge President with mutually agreeable dates for an earlier hearing. The matter is currently scheduled to be heard in the Gauteng High Court in May 2020.
"We note that this matter turns on the lack of NERSA and the Minister being able to reach agreement on the legal framework to allow for the issuing of a license to the City to purchase renewable energy from IPPs. Should an agreement be reached on this aspect before the proposed original date for the hearing of the matter, it will not only enable the City to move forward with its plans sooner but it will also mean that litigation in this matter is not required."
On 11 and 12 May 2020, the City of Cape Town will ask the Court for a declaratory order that will enable it to choose the type of power that it provides. Currently, it is determined that the City must procure its electricity from Eskom...
15 Nov 2019
Neilson said it will be vital for the national government to open up the electricity generation environment if the security of power supply is to be restored.
"It is vital that we future-proof our City to ensure that security of supply, and cleaner supply is enhanced. The City, therefore, wants a Section 34 determination in accordance with the New Generation Capacity Regulations in the Electricity Regulation Act to allow us to procure 150 MW of solar energy and 280 MW of wind energy from IPPs. While it will take time to procure this new capacity, the City wants to begin working on these alternatives as soon as possible."
Neilson stated that should the court challenge prove successful, the CoCT will opt for a public tender and solicit proposals from IPPs in the future.
"For the sake of our country’s economy, the entire electricity regime urgently needs to be restructured. The City is ready to be part of that change and move towards a low carbon, diversified and decentralised and secure energy system," he concluded.