One of the key mechanisms identified to contribute towards the target is the enablement of energy wheeling (i.e. the transportation of energy from a generator to a remotely located end-user through the use of an existing distribution network). Wheeling support provided by and through the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) to date has involved supporting select municipalities in establishing municipal energy wheeling frameworks and tariffs, thereby unlocking the potential for significant private sector investment in renewable energy generation through removing some of the geographical location-based limitations. Additional work is expected to address municipal revenue effects, as well as look at developing standardised use-of-system agreements to assist in lowering the cost of implementing wheeling.
What is electricity wheeling?
Wheeling is the act of transporting electricity from a generator to a remotely located end-user through the use of an existing distribution or transmission system. This may also be across multiple different distribution networks, such as through Eskom to a municipality.
This does not necessarily mean that the exact electrons entering the transmission network from the generator will be transported to the end-user. Rather, wheeling frameworks and rules guide the balancing of energy from the generator with the end-user consumption through a financial transaction. This also includes overcoming system losses
How will this help with increasing low-carbon energy in the province?
While small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) in the province is widely supported, sometimes the requirements for electricity at a specific site are more than the energy that can be generated given the space available. Alternatively, sometimes greater energy output can be generated in a specific geographical location (e.g. you probably get more energy from the same solar PV plant if it is located in a flat area with lots of solar irradiation, versus next to a mountain with lots of shadows).
By implementing wheeling frameworks and tariffs, the end-users can buy power from generators located at more favourable geographic locations. Additionally, these frameworks provide a mechanism for municipalities to recover the cost of maintaining the electricity network and administrative functions.
When will this be implemented?
Several pilot projects are expected in the coming year, and selected municipalities will be implementing frameworks soon. This page will be updated as soon as these are made available.
City of Cape Town Wheeling Research Project: https://www.capetown.gov.za/City-Connect/Apply/Municipal-services/Electricity/apply-to-take-part-in-our-pilot-electricity-wheeling-research-project
George Municipality Wheeling: https://documentportal.george.gov.za/storage/fees-tarriffs/April2021/xabdb83buzkVym5F6ODJ.pdf