26 GWhs of green electricity for sale from city of Cape Town

Submitted by: Margaret McKenzie, Monday, July 9, 2012

<p>The four wind turbines of Darling Wind Farm (Supplied by Darling Wind Farm)</p>

The four wind turbines of Darling Wind Farm (Supplied by Darling Wind Farm)

The City of Cape Town has 26 GWh’s of Green Electricity Certificates (GECs) for sale says Brian Jones head of Green Energy at the city.  The price of the GECs is 25c per kWh (excluding VAT).  This fee is over and above the cost of purchasing the electricity itself.   

The electricity for the GECs is generated by the Darling Wind Farm which has been in operation since 2008.   The City of Cape Town has a 20 year agreement with the wind farm to purchase its entire electricity production.   Darling wind farm has four 1.3MW wind turbines that annually generate between 6 and 8 GWhs of electricity.    

Cape Town has already sold 1.5 GWhs of GECs in 60 individual transactions says Jones.  The major buyers of the GECs have been two large corporates: a hotel and a retail company.  While there have been a few residential purchases of GECs, Jones says that most residents who enquire are looking to reduce the cost of their electricity purchases rather than pay a premium for green electricity.

Jones emphasises that potential buyers should note that GECs represent the ‘intangible’ benefits of the green energy produced by the Darling Wind Farm.  In other words, buyers don’t physically receive the green energy themselves but rather purchase the right to claim the environmental benefits, which include for example zero emissions, of that green energy.  The mechanism of GECs is used to account for the benefits of green energy since there is no way to differentiate between green energy and normal energy once it has been feed into the national grid. Jones explains further that “the purchase of 1 kWh of GEC’s would green the consumption of 1 kWh of normal electricity”.

To keep track of the GECs bought and sold the City of Cape Town maintains a register of Green Energy Certificates in kWh units.  When energy is generated and then bought from Darling Wind Farm that quantity of units is added to the stock record.  Similarly, when GECs are sold, that number of units is withdrawn from the stock record.

Buyers of GECs are issued with a decorative “Green Certificate Purchase Statement” by the City of Cape Town.  GECs are available for sale to any person or organisation located in South Africa.  For more information go to the City of Cape Town web page on purchasing Green Electricity Certificates.

Sample Green Certificate Purchase Statement (Supplied by Green Energy, City of Cape Town)

Margaret McKenzie