Green Electricity Certificates ?…Cape Town


If you’re serious about sustainability, consider switching to green electricity.  
1. What is “green electricity?”
“Green electricity” is electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar and wave power. These are environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional electricity generated from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. Fossil fuels are an enormous source of greenhouse gas emissions (such as carbon dioxide), contributing to the present global warming crisis, and are going to run out sooner or later. 
2. What is “Darling Wind Farm Green Electricity”?  
In pursuit of its target to source 10% of the metro’s energy from renewable sources by 2020, the City of Cape Town will purchase all the green electricity to be generated by Phase 1 of the Darling Wind Farm for 20 years. This Green Electricity will be made available for sale to the public through the mechanism of “Green Electricity Certificates.”  
3. Why is Darling Green Electricity more environmentally friendly than Eskom electricity?  
About 95% of Eskom electricity is generated from fossil fuels (coal and diesel) resulting in South Africa having one of the most polluting electricity supplies in the world and a high reliance on a resource which will eventually run out.  
Green Electricity generated by the Darling Wind Farm will replace electricity generated by Eskom.  
4. How will the Green Electricity be delivered to a purchaser- will they have to modify any metering or other electrical equipment in order to buy “Green Electricity?” 
It is impractical to install new power lines all the way from the Darling Wind Farm to the premises of Green Electricity purchasers. A financial instrument called “Renewable” or “Green Electricity Certificates” enables consumers to participate in the generation of green electricity through the purchase of these certificates without being directly connected by power line to the renewable energy source.  
When the City purchases Green Electricity from the Darling Wind Farm, it is in effect purchasing the rights to the environmental benefits associated with the Green Electricity notwithstanding the fact that the electrons from the wind farm will be will be injected onto the national grid and will be inseparable from the balance of the electricity being transported across the grid which originated from Eskom power stations. 
In the same way, when Green Electricity Certificates are sold by the City Of Cape Town, the right to the associated benefits transfers from the City to the purchasers of the Green Electricity Certificates. The purchasers will therefore not need to modify any metering or other electrical equipment in order to buy “Green Electricity.” 
5. What does the purchase of Green Electricity Certificates represent?  
The purchase of Green Electricity Certificates represents a financial contribution by the purchaser to cover the premium that the City has paid for Green Electricity which has already been generated by the Darling Wind Farm and purchased by the City of Cape Town. The Green Electricity Certificates represent all the benefits of the renewable energy and excludes the supply of the electrical energy itself.  
6. Claims of “Greenness” by the purchaser  
Purchasing Green Electricity Certificates transfers the right to claim the benefits of the Green Electricity from the City of Cape Town to the purchaser. Electricity consumers can claim to have consumed green electricity if the amount of units of Green Electricity Certificates purchased by them is equivalent to or exceeds the amount of normal electricity consumed by the facility or process for which the claim is made.  
7. How is the “validity” of Green Electricity Certificates ensured? 
The City’s purchases, sales and stock records for Green electricity Certificates will be regularly audited to establish whether:

  • 100% of the electricity which the Darling Wind Farm has sold to the City was derived from a renewable source
  • The City has purchased sufficient green electricity from the Darling Wind Farm to cover the amount of Green Electricity Certificates sold be the City
  • The “green benefits” associated with the generation of the Darling Wind Farm electricity are not “double sold”

8. How much will Green Electricity Certificates cost?  
The price of Green Electricity Certificates for the 2008/2009 year is 25c for 1 kWh excluding VAT. (This is a separate purchase and a separate charge in addition to the cost of normal electricity purchases). The price will be revised on the 1st of July each year. 
9. Who may purchase Green Electricity Certificates? 
The amount of Green Electricity produced by the wind farm is limited. Once the City has advertised that Green Electricity Certificates are available for sale they will be sold on a first come, first served basis to anyone including Eskom electricity customers residing within the City’s limits and to those not connected to the City’s electricity network. Preference will be given to larger offers to purchase. 
10.  What happens if the wind does not blow?  
The City will only sell Green Electricity Certificates for renewable electricity which has been already generated. It will manage its “stock” in a manner to minimise the possibility of stock outs for regular purchasers. 
11.  When will Green Electricity Certificates become available? 
The wind turbines at the Darling Wind Farm have been commissioned and the City has begun purchasing renewable electricity from the wind farm. The details of the sale of green electricity are being finalised at the moment, and will be published as soon as possible. For further details, please e-mail Brian Jones at:
More info will be available at GREENEX2010