Embedded energy generation experience in a South African metropolitan municipality
In 2008, the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBM), which unites the cities of Port Elizabeth and the towns of Uitenhage and Depatch, spearheaded the piloting of small-scale embedded energy generation in South Africa: they connected a small-scale wind and solar energy generation pilot site to the energy grid using a simple system for net metering. Subsequently, in September 2011, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) developed and approved the Standard Conditions for Small-Scale (<100kW) Embedded Generation (SSEG) within Municipal Boundaries.
Embedding small-scale generation is inherently a local matter; as such, municipalities play an important role in terms of creating the infrastructure necessary to enable and facilitate the connection of small-scale renewable energy production to the electricity grid. In addition, the municipality regulates the practice to ensure the optimal reticulation of electricity (distribution network).
Although conscious of the fact that facilitating SSEG would not be financially profitable for the municipality, a long-term perspective motivated NMBM to pursue it further.
By facilitating the uptake of embedded generation, NMBM is laying a foundation for low-carbon urban growth, economic and socio-economic development, and improved energy security through the diversification of the local energy mix. Moreover, they are working alongside citizens to do so. Therein, SSEG allows NMBM to drive economic growth and development, deliver services to the community, and promote a safe and healthy environment for residents.