The first electrons of clean, green energy have officially been wheeled via the City of Cape Town’s energy grid. Growthpoint Properties became the first party to wheel renewable electricity in the City in collaboration with licensed electricity trader Etana Energy.

Estienne de Klerk, SA CEO of Growthpoint Properties. Image supplied by Growthpoint Properties

Estienne de Klerk, SA CEO of Growthpoint Properties. Image supplied by Growthpoint Properties

Wheeling is a process where electricity is bought and sold between private parties, using the existing grid to transport power from where it is generated to end-users that can be long distances apart. It creates greater access to affordable renewable energy and contributes to resolving the country’s energy crisis.

As part of the City’s wheeling pilot project, in which Etana was selected as a participating trader, solar energy generated at Growthpoint’s The Constantia Village shopping centre in Constantia is being exported into Cape Town’s electricity grid for use at Growthpoint’s 36 Hans Strijdom office building in the Foreshore, the home of Investec and Ninety One.

A wheeling agreement between the City and Growthpoint was signed at the end of August and, in a milestone for renewable energy in Cape Town, solar power from The Constantia Village was successfully injected into the City’s energy grid for the first time on Sunday, 10 September 2023.

The City’s six-month pilot project includes 15 wheeling participants representing 25 generators and 40 customers. The pilot will lay the groundwork for future wheeling in Cape Town and enable businesses to use energy from rooftop solar panels across multiple locations, encouraging them to optimise solar capacity instead of limiting it to individual building use.

“Overall, Cape Town is planning to add up to one gigawatt of independent power to end loadshedding in the city over time. The exact mix may vary, but we expect wheeling to contribute up to 350MW to the grid in time. Congratulations to the pioneering private sector players who successfully wheeled the very first electrons, and thanks to the City’s team who worked to get the enabling legislation, billing engine and wheeling agreements in place. This is good news for the economy and the coming energy transition, which Cape Town is proud to be at the forefront of,” said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

Estienne de Klerk, SA CEO of Growthpoint Properties, says “this project brings Growthpoint closer to our climate commitment of being carbon neutral by 2050 and is the starting point to providing clean green energy to our tenants in Cape Town to further their environmental commitments.”

Reyburn Hendricks, Director of Etana Energy, comments, “we are incredibly excited about this landmark initiative. Allowing the wheeling of electricity to municipal connected customers will accelerate Etana’s mission of bringing much-needed new renewable energy generation onto the grid in South Africa.”

Cape Town’s “end load-shedding” plans include wheeling electricity, partnering with independent power producers, paying households and businesses ‘Cash for Power’ generated by solar PV, the ‘Power Heroes’ incentive scheme for households to reduce energy demand, solar PV farms, and further optimising of the Steenbras Hydropower plant.

The City’s wheeling pilot aims to test and validate the contracting framework and billing engine for full-scale implementation. This initial transaction sets the foundation for Growthpoint to wheel clean energy to all its buildings in Cape Town in the future, including Ninety One’s office for the long term at 36 Hans Strijdom.