Ensuring that Western Cape is Energy Secure through Diversification
30 January 2020
Over the past decade, the Western Cape and Cape Town governments have supported the development of the green economy. We have been working to establish an enabling environment for investment in renewable and sustainable energy through partnerships with stakeholders such as GreenCape and Wesgro.
About 60% of SA’s utility-scale project developers, and 70% of SA renewable energy manufacturing, takes place in the Western Cape, with billions of rand of investment into this sector. With the establishment of the Atlantis special economic zone for green technology, the Western Cape is cementing itself as Africa’s green economy capital.
A key element of our work has been to drive the uptake of solar photovoltaic panels (PV). We are doing this in two ways: first, the Western Cape government has engaged every municipality in the province to enable residents and businesses to install solar PV. Second, we have held one-on-one engagements with CEOs of businesses interested in installing solar PV. More than 60 businesses have already been visited, with more than 60% of these subsequently deciding to install solar PV.
Furthermore, we have been promoting the importation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the Western Cape via Saldanha Bay since 2012. We feel that LNG can play a critical role in our energy mix as it assists in balancing the variability of renewable energy.
As a provincial government, we are also leading by example by reducing electricity consumption in our buildings by 13% since 2015, resulting in our energy consumption being 38% below the industry benchmark. We have also invested more than R40m in solar PV on provincially owned buildings, which is expected to result in a cost-saving of 10% a year.
Apart from large internal electricity savings achieved in its operations, the city’s programme to roll out light-emitting diode (LED) technology in street lights has resulted in about 820km of roads being retrofitted across the metro, with an energy saving of about 40%.
These are just a few examples of the initiatives taken by the Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town to build energy resilience to support growth and jobs during load-shedding.
The city continues to engage large energy-consuming customers regarding load curtailment options in certain areas, to lessen the extreme affect load-shedding has on the economy and livelihoods.
I am committed to continued engagements with Cape Town and businesses in the province to drive energy resilience so that we remain “open for business”, and together continue to grow the economy and create jobs in the Western Cape.
- Maynier is Western Cape provincial finance and economic opportunities MEC responsible for the provincial treasury and the economic development and tourism department
Original article compiled by David Maynier