Cape Town Step-p Plans to Accelerate Renewable Energy Project

Cape Town Step-p Plans to Accelerate Renewable Energy Project

In South Africa, the City of Cape Town hopes to attract the most capital for renewable energy projects. This is happening as the city implements programs to make it possible for energy diversification for cheaper, cleaner sources of energy as well as the development of the green economy for real economic growth.

Councillor Beverley van Reenen, a member of the city’s mayoral committee responsible for energy, spoke yesterday at the Africa Renewables Investment Summit at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. She detailed important initiatives the city is implementing to gradually stop load-shedding. Additionally, it is trying to increase the security of the energy supply, diversify Cape Town’s energy mix through in-house and outside providers, and foster an environment that will encourage more investment in renewable and cleaner energy sources.

The city has been at the vanguard of efforts over the years to wean itself off the struggling power provider Eskom. To increase energy security, the city pushed for the right to purchase cleaner energy directly from independent power providers.

According to Van Reenen, the city has a vision to become a climate-resilient, resource-efficient, and carbon-neutral city that promotes equitable job growth, particularly in the most promising future industries, like the renewables industry.

“The city aims to be a leader in renewable energy and alternative technology solutions through facilitation, promotion and helping to create an enabling environment for greater investment in this sector. South Africa is facing extraordinary energy challenges. So far this year, we have had a record of over 1 800 hours of rolling outages.”

Last week, the City of Cape Town announced its plans to build its first grid-connected solar plant next year, as one of its interventions to end load-shedding over time.

The city published a tender for the engineering, procurement, and construction of its 7MW Atlantis solar PV facility, according to a release. The building will be directly connected to the city’s electrical system. It is anticipated that similar plants may be built throughout the metro area in the future.

Van Reenen continued that Eskom’s Just Energy Transition program has made headway toward lower carbon technologies, but more funding and support are needed for it to achieve its goals.

“As a city, we are taking the lead. Programmes to diversify and secure our energy needs have already started, including tender processes that are under way for independent power producers, the city’s own build programme, starting with a 7MW solar plant in Atlantis, and generation from small-scale embedded generators.

“Our wheeling pilot project is at an advanced stage and we are actively exploring options for battery storage to optimise the use of renewables in our energy mix. Cape Town is undoubtedly the premier investment destination for renewables.”

In April, the Mother City announced a R16.4 billion budget, largely to drive renewable energy generation in the city.